Well folks, we’ve reached February and although the MLBPA and Major League Baseball have met in recent days, they are no closer to reaching an agreement than when the lockout started in early December.
With Spring Training scheduled to start in two weeks for pitchers and catchers, the possibility of the season starting on time is getting smaller with each second that passes by.
The two sides remain far apart, and it seems that the Players Union is the only one willing to negotiate. The MLBPA proposed the following two areas on Tuesday-
- Moving the pre arbitration bonus pool from $105 million to $100 million
- Reducing the scope of their service time manipulation proposal to include fewer rookies by WAR who would qualify for a year of service
Negotiations were said to be “heated” in a meeting that lasted just 90 minutes. When the two sides last week, MLB agreed to the concept of the bonus pool, but were starting with just $10 million.
In an article by Evan Drellich, the union’s plan would award a full year of MLB service time to rookies who finish in the top five in their league for Rookie of the Year, top three for reliever of the year and/or make first- or second-team All-MLB. Using an average of bWAR and fWAR, non-outfielders and non-pitchers who finish in the top seven of their positions in their respective leagues also would qualify, as would pitchers and outfielders who finish in the top 20. Previously, the union offered top 10 and top 30 respectively.
There currently is no plan for the two sides to meet again. It could happen later this week, it may not be until next week, when there is a regular quarterly meeting of owners in Florida. It is not probable that there would be a lockout meeting while the owners are meeting, however. If nothing happens next week, then we are on to the next week, when spring training is supposed to start. So unless something drastic happens, do not count on spring training and probably the season starting on time.
“It’s been different this time, with the lock out, and I can’t…. This is the time where I really connect with the players, and get the vibe of how things are going and talk to them about spring training and how their off-seasons are going and right now we can’t talk to the player so that’s been different….I love time with the family but I’m staring to get antsy for things to start”.
He went on to say that at this point, he and the coaching staff have plans A, B, C, and D as far as the roster when baseball resumes, and believes that it will move quickly once it does.
Roberts also mentioned the president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the front office are having conversations, and that that he (Roberts) believes there will be a lot of player movement once the lockout is resolved.
Tangentially, ZiPS has the Dodgers winning the most games in the National League next season, roster as is. No doubt Friedman and company have many different plans for shoring up the pitching staff and bettering the team.