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MLB lockout update: Spring Training could now be threatened

Vincent Frank
MLB: Winter Meetings
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

MLB and the Players’ Union met on Thursday for the first time since owners opted to lock players out back on December 2.

It’s been over six weeks since said lockout, leading to questions why the two sides are just now sitting down at the negotiating table.

Said meeting reportedly didn’t go swimmingly with MLB making its first labor proposal since the lockout.

“The disappointment from players in the league’s proposal Thursday wasn’t altogether unexpected. MLB offered a significant revamping of its system in paying players with between two and three years of major league service time, offering an increase in money going to those players through a formula that would determine their pay,” ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers reported.

As for the proposals themselves, they were more economical in nature.

  • Changes to arbitration system for players with two-plus years of service time
  • Tweaks to the draft lottery system

Unfortunately, the two sides did not even discuss core issues that the Players’ Association have been pushing for. That includes changes to the competitive balance tax and raising the minimum salary. Obviously, revenue share is a major issues here, too.

MLB lockout leads to Spring Training being threatened

MLB TV ratings
Aug 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; A general view of the MLB logo with Colorado Rockies batting gear on it during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Colorado Rockies won 12-9. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

“Major League Baseball on Thursday made its first labor proposal since locking out players Dec. 2, focusing on a narrow set of issues that did little to encourage players and heightened the likelihood of spring training being postponed,” the report read.

Pitchers and catchers were slated to report to Spring Training around the middle of February. That gives the two sides roughly a month to work things out.

It’s obviously not looking great right now. According to the report from ESPN, the two sides are not expected to pick up talks again until the end of January. That’s when the threat of Opening Day being postponed increases a ton.

This could lead to MLB’s first work stoppage in more than a quarter century now including Spring Training and regular-season games being postponed. It’s not a great look for the two sides. That’s for sure.