MLB Lockout: Latest offer didn’t seem to move the needle with the players

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Rob Manfred was blowing smoke last week when he pretended like spring training would start on-time, complete with members of the 40-man rosters and all. He knew it. We knew it. The players knew it. After a new proposal from owners and a subdued response from the MLBPA, we now know a tough truth: the MLB lockout will delay the start of big league camps this week.

The two sides have inched toward the middle – but we were all hoping for some major middle ground seeking following Manfred’s press conference on Thursday where he expressed a weird optimism regarding discussions and the on-time start of spring training that didn’t seem to align with reality.

Here’s the quick rundown of what we saw from the owner’s latest proposal – for all the details, there are a tonThe Athletic of outlets all over this, including Jesse Rogers over at ESPN (subscription required), and plenty more worth reading.

  • No updates to revenue sharing or arbitration years – in my opinion, until these issues are tackled, we’re not going to see major headway on a new CBA.
  • An increase in the first luxury tax threshold (from $220 to $222 million) and the elimination of draft pick compensation on the lower thresholds
  • An additional $5 million in the proposed bonus pool for pre-arbitration players; the only problem being that puts the league’s current (and highest offer) at $15 million while the MLBPA seeks $100 million for that pool
  • Increased minimum salary for third-year players, raising from $700K to $725K
  • Improved incentives for teams to promote top prospects rather than hold them back early in the year to gain an extra year of control; if a player finishes in the top 3 of Cy Young, MVP or Rookie of the Year voting in their first three years in the league, the team gets awarded two additional draft picks

So what does all this mean? Well, if you ask Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, it means there is officially ‘no reason to believe’ the 2022 regular season will start on-time. It’s taken some folks longer to arrive at that conclusion than myself – because we’re not seeing any sort of olive branch offers from either side and that seems unlikely to change anytime soon.

A shorter spring training is now a guarantee. What will that mean for teams like the Cubs, who have key guys coming back from injury and haven’t been able to work with organizational staff for months now? Will pitching depth be key because of a higher number of injuries with the diminished ramp-up time

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There’s a long way to go with no end in sight. With the Super Bowl taking center stage Sunday, baseball fans should be ready to watch their favorite clubs report to camp this week in an exciting week that unofficially gives us folks in the Midwest hope that winter is winding down and spring is right around the corner. Instead, we’re getting nothing but doom and gloom with our chicken wings tonight.