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Reports: MLB, MLBPA Spend 5 Hours Meeting in First of Daily CBA Negotiations

MLB and the MLBPA kicked off a critical week of collective bargaining negotiations in an effort to salvage Opening Day.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association kicked off a critical round of negotiations Monday, hoping to make headway toward a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides met multiple times over a span of more than five hours at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

According to The Athletic's Evan Drellich, MLB offered multiple proposals to the MLBPA. The league upped its pre-arbitration bonus pool to $20 million paid to 30 players, an increase of $5 million from its previous offer. MLB also proposed the first four picks of the MLB Draft be decided by lottery instead of the top three picks as previously offered.

While a pre-arbitration bonus pool and draft lottery are two new concepts embraced by the league and union alike, the two sides have remained far apart on dollars. MLB's $20 million pre-arbitration bonus pool is still $95 million short of what the MLBPA previously offered ($115 million paid to 150 players), and the union had previously proposed the first eight picks be decided by lottery.

What's more, MLB declined to make any modifications to its proposal on the competitive balance tax (luxury tax). The league last offered the first threshold be raised to $214 million in 2022 and incrementally increase to $222 million in the final year of the agreement. In addition, MLB has also maintained that tax rates be significantly increased compared to the previous CBA.

Conversely, the MLBPA most recently proposed a first threshold of $245 million in 2022 (rising to $273 million in the final year of the deal) with lesser tax rates and penalties. The first CBT threshold was $210 million in 2021.

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According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, MLB is waiting for a counterproposal from the MLBPA on the CBT since it made the most recent offer. The CBT, its threshold and penalties is thought to be the largest hurdle in negotiations. If the two sides can come to an agreement on this issue, it could pave the way to a new CBA.

According to multiple reports, MLB and the MLBPA plan to meet once again Tuesday as the union will offer a counterproposal. While no serious movement was made and the players were "underwhelmed" by Monday's proposals, the two sides spent more than five hours in the same place (including a three-hour break where the two sides caucused separately). The hope is some groundwork was laid as negotiations continue this week.

MLB has drawn a line in the sand, telling the MLBPA a new CBA must be in place by Feb. 28 in order to avoid any lost games from the regular season schedule. Since this is a league-imposed lockout and owners have given no indication that they'll end the lockout without a new CBA, a new agreement will need to be in place by the end of the month if Major League ballparks are to be filled on March 31.

Buckle up. It's going to be a long week.

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