Baseball’s spring training was supposed to start this week. Instead, the second-longest work stoppage in MLB history rolls on, after several over the financial terms separating the two sides. The league’s players want to see bumps in their minimum salary levels, a big increase in the sums teams can spend on their rosters before the luxury tax kicks in, and reduced incentives for teams to lose on purpose just to lock in high draft picks.
If the owners and players can’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement in the next two weeks, it’s the season itself that won’t start at the end of March.
The players have seen their average salary drop by over 4% since 2019. After their collective bargaining agreement expired in early December, the owners locked out the players and the two sides have been at an impasse since.
So far, the MLB has made only modest movements in its players’ direction, which have also come with countermeasures that will continue to hold back salary growth. Given the tone of a recent press conference by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, Will suspects owners are willing to drop games in order to put pressure on players. Will also talks about how his support for unions is colliding with his love for baseball.
Watch the full episode of The Long Game with LZ & Leitch here.