Major League Baseball and the Players Association met on Thursday for the first time since a lockout of the sport ensued on December 2, 2021. The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement brought the sport to a screeching halt.
Contention and vitriol has characterized the relationship between the two parties, therefore it comes as little surprise that it took nearly six weeks for the two to meet to discuss core-economics.
The MLB has reportedly brought a core-economics proposal to the table according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
However, one could assume that this is a strategic choice by MLB to help improve their image amongst fans as being seen as the ones to make the first move. In reality, it likely did not make concessions on many of the issues the MLBPA has stood by.
Issues such as revenue sharing, service time manipulation, and a set free agency age are the sticking points for the players. Much of this could impact the landscape of the game and how teams address personnel choices and the future direction of their clubs.
As far as the owners are concerned, they would prefer to keep the landscape relatively the same, aside from an expansion of the playoffs. The MLB and owners have seen their revenue steadily rise since 2001, aside from the COVID-19 affected 2020 season.
MLB and the owners have little reason to want to see a significant change to the "core-economics" of the game. Which begs the question, "what does MLB stand to gain by making the first move?"
For starters, as previously mentioned, it allows them to make the case that they are not in fact the party dragging their feet. However, the first proposal was not accepted by the MLBPA on Thursday and according to Passan, the players were reportedly not happy with the proposal.
Yet, with time running down until the beginning of spring training, it could spur both parties to reaching an agreement. Once an economical proposal is accepted by both parties, the timeline to ratifying a new CBA should happen relatively quickly.
The MLBPA will now likely counter with an offer of their own. Depending on what concessions, if any, that MLB and the owners gave to the players will determine how the MLBPA proceeds.
Both sides will need to find common ground, and Thursday was the beginning of that process.