MLB lockout: Here’s what separates players, owners from a deal

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It’s tough to imagine the MLB lockout ending soon enough to avoid postponing the regular season with the players and owners still so far apart on demands.

The MLB lockout is becoming a very real threat to a normal start to the 2022 baseball season.

Negotiations aren’t looking good with just a few days left for the owners and players to come to an agreement without postponing the league campaign.

The two sides may still work it out, but they have a long way to go.

How far apart are the players and owners in MLB lockout negotiations?

According to Jeff Passan, there is still a wide gap between the most recent proposals from each side…

  • Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) gap: $31 million
  • Pre-arbitration bonus pool gap: $95 million
  • Minimum salary per player gap: $135,000
  • Draft lottery gap: 3 picks

Why is Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) an issue in the MLB lockout?

The CBT is basically a soft salary cap for MLB teams. If they surpass the CBT threshold, they have to pay a tax. Teams that stay over the CBT for multiple years are penalized more harshly. Teams that go over the threshold significantly also face a larger tax percentage. Surrendering draft picks is also on the table.

Essentially, the existence of the CBT incentivizes teams not to shell out as much money on player salaries. While the Yankees and other super-wealthy teams might be willing to take the hit from time to time, most other franchises can point to the CBT as a reason not to invest more cash into their roster.

The players want the CBT threshold to be higher to encourage more spending from owners. Obviously, the owners want to keep costs lower and the CBT being set closer to $214 million gives them that reason.

Why is the proposed pre-arbitration bonus pool?

The MLBPA wants players who aren’t yet eligible for arbitration to receive bonuses based on their performance with a pool of money dedicated to dealing out those bonuses.

This would allow young players to receive compensation more befitting the value of their output based on awards and WAR.

Teams would rather hold onto the pre-arbitration discounts they enjoy.

While the owners have opened the door for a pre-arbitration bonus pool, they’ve proposed a fraction of the $105 million ask of the MLBPA.

What is the dispute over the MLB draft lottery?

The union wants to institute a draft lottery to discourage teams from tanking for higher draft picks. Their initial proposal was for the draft lottery to determine the top eight picks, but they have since dropped that number to seven.

The owners are looking for a smaller lottery including only the top four picks.

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