Rami’s Roundup: Delayed Start to MLB Season More Likely After Recent Meeting Between Owner & Player Reps

MLB: ALDS-Chicago White Sox at Houston Astros
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Major Leagues baseball’s players and owners finally met yesterday. As predicted, this will not be the final meeting between the two sides.

While I expected the two sides would have a long way to go, there was optimism heading into this meeting that was derailed by the meeting’s results.

MLB Insider Jeff Passan reported that a delayed start to the season is becoming increasingly more likely by the day, saying on Twitter: “This is very important to understand: Bargaining is not linear. Sometimes it’s big proposals. Others it’s incremental. The union will counter — likely sooner than later. This is a long process. Significant progress before March 1, when games are threatened, could be minimal.”

Opening a dialogue was key and the meeting most definitely accomplished that. However, it seems the owners have hardly budged from their original offer, moving them only slightly closer to an ultimate agreement.

If the players can come back with a counter offer which is closer to what the owners have
offered, and do so in a timely manner, things may start to move along. The owners were unwilling to move off the current 6 years service time prior to free agency eligibility, or discuss any adjustment to the current revenue sharing plan. Both of these things are expected to be included in the players’ counter-proposal, making an agreement in that meeting nearly impossible as well. The only hope for an on-time start to spring training will be an ongoing dialogue between the two sides. MLB insiders however, assume talks will not resume before the end of the month. If that is the case, and the movement towards an agreement continues to be incremental, the outlook does not seem to be positive.

We are not yet in danger of losing a season, or any games at all, but with every passing day the likelihood of that happening becomes more and more likely.