The clock is ticking on Major League Baseball and the MLBPA to reach an agreement ahead of Spring Training.
The two sides held a bargaining session Thursday -- the first economic-centric meeting in 42 days between the MLB and MLBPA -- but no deal was reached to end the baseball lockout, according to multiple reports.
The two sides have met since the lockout went into effect on Dec. 2, but Thursday’s meeting marked the first substantial meeting to discuss the primary economic goals of the MLBPA. With the two sides no closer to a deal, the mid-February reporting date for the start of Spring Training could be in jeopardy.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the league's proposal on Thursday included a pay increase to players with between two and three years of service time in the majors through a formula as opposed to the current "Super 2s" system. The "Super 2s," where the top 22 percent of players with two-plus years are arbitration eligible for an additional year and thus allowed to negotiate salary, ultimately would be eliminated under MLB's proposal.
MLB, per Passan, also proposed awarding draft picks to teams who have a top 100 prospect on the Opening Day roster who wins Rookie of the Year or, within his first three seasons, finishes as a top-three finalist for MVP or Cy Young.
Passan also reported that MLB pushed for teams to be ineligible for the draft lottery in three consecutive seasons, as well as a 14-team playoff and universal DH.
Passan reported that key topics not discussed Thursday included changes to the competitive-balance tax and raising the minimum salary.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the league initiated the meeting and offered a number of concessions including restructuring the draft lottery to disincentivize tanking, eliminating the qualification offer system, expanding to a universal designated hitter and an increased minimum salary for younger players.
The response among players to these conditions was reportedly “not positive” and seen as “disappointing.”
However, most reports indicate this does not come as a surprise to the MLBPA who entered the meeting with low expectations. It is unclear when a counter offer will be made.
The MLBPA is demanding more structural change to areas including free agency and revenue sharing.
The lockout began on Dec. 2 following a seven-minute meeting between the league and the players association. It marks the ninth MLB lockout and the first since the 1994-95 strike that resulted in 938 games and the entire postseason, including the World Series.
MLB Spring Training is set to begin Feb. 26 in Arizona and Florida, with pitchers and catchers expected to report Feb. 14.