Latest on MLB Lockout and Thoughts from Dave Roberts

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.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke with SNLA’s Kirsten Watson on Tuesday about what has been the hardest part of the lockout for him personally.

“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.

47 thoughts on “Latest on MLB Lockout and Thoughts from Dave Roberts

  1. Going to be a long bitter strike. The two sides neither trust nor respect the other. Hard to come to an agreement with that even before the issues. Players feel they lost the last labor agreement and are determined not to lose this one. Owners loved the last deal and do not want any substantial change. I doubt the players give up the issues they consider to be their major demands. That equals a long strike.

  2. I hope not. Maybe the fans should stay away for a day for every day of a strike, once it’s over. Thirty day strike. Thirty days of empty seats after the strike is over.

  3. I still believe this will drag out. It’s difficult to watch it happening so I’ve only read the headlines. I just can’t relate to what they are doing. We, the fan collective, pay for all of it and we have no representation. As an old friend now retired in Oregon said “F*** ‘em all.” I wouldn’t put it quite like that. Not ALL of them, just most of them

    Our system remains in good shape with 6 Tier 1 players, rated just behind the giants. Tampa is of course #1, according to BR. We are deep in talent – in players, in scouting and in coaching.

    We’ll be fine once we start playing. We will find our way to 100 wins again, or at least on that pace if they don’t play 162.

  4. I think we have a major problem. As you’ve all noted, the lack of willingness to make any major compromises may lead to a very long baseball strike. The football season is over in 10 days. The Lakers may not even make the playoffs.

    With the above in mind, I’ve decided to start up a new blog which I will be referring to as BTPC (TBPC was already taken). BTPC or Blue Tiddlywinks Planning Committee will feature articles from national writers on the subject and will be a subscription-only blog. Please send me your fees immediately. Lifetime subscription equals two pennies, which will entitle you to, that’s right, put in your two cents worth.

    1. I think you should pay us to post. 2 cents per line, payable up front. Send me $100 and I’ll owe you a lot of words. I’m good for them.

      1. Much obliged. As it may be.

        Flores. Boom goes the dynamite.

        O’Connell. Stay focused Kevin.

  5. I have already made a commitment to not support MLB. I cancelled my MLB subscription and I no longer buy league sanctioned items. I can live without the BS. I will follow the minor leagues when they start up. I am sick and tired of the fan being the one who gets screwed while Billionaires and millionaires fight over money. I barely get enough to survive as it is.

    1. By cancelling your MLB subscription, does that mean you won’t be able to watch Dodger games Bear? If so, I respect your determination to show both sides how you feel about their stupidity. I’m not ready to commit to not watching Dodger games on tv although I certainly go to far fewer games than I used to. My son and I used to attend 10-15 games a year. Last year, one.

      I know how much the Dodgers mean to me and I’m not willing to punish myself to show them what I think of their actions. You are a stronger man than I am, my friend.

      1. I cancelled for a couple of reasons, the main one at this point being the cost. Right now, with prices the way they are, I just cannot afford the one time payment or the 25.00 a month it costs. Last year I got it late because I was out in California and got a discount when I came home and signed up. I might end up getting the sports package on my cable company, and watching as many games as I can. Some guys have suggested using a VPN and getting games that way.

      2. I hope you’ll be able to find a way to watch the games. When you tell me how bad Tyler White is, I’ll want to know that you actually saw him play.

      3. I saw how bad he was when he was with the Dodgers. I know he signed somewhere, but I cannot remember who with.

      4. VPNs are usually pretty easy and if not, a certain writer might be willing to share her password with you 😉

  6. The owners have been heavy handed, ever since the last contract. They out foxed the players, and now the greedy B……s want even more in this new contract. I’m totally on the players side, I hope they stay strong, if they fold up, and give in to the owners again on this contract, the owners will keep taking, and taking.
    Where’s Marvin Miller when you need him.

    1. But I find it hard to feel sorry for the players with the money they make. Some of the contacts are just ludicrous. And always fully guaranteed. Look at Bellinger!  He gets paid $11.5M to hit .165 and then gets a raise to $16.1M

      Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

      1. I wonder if both sides realize that they can get away with losing some of Spring Training but if they lose part of the season, they will really suffer the wrath of the fans and attendance will be affected.

        Maybe they’re both posturing in the hopes that the other side will give in on some big position, but both realize that there is a date beyond which they absolutely need to make a deal. Or maybe they’re both spoiled brats and they don’t care how it affects the game’s future.

      2. I am not willing to give up my MLB games. I do not blame the players. I look at it as the Players are at the zenith of their craft/art. How many players work hard in obscurity taking bus rides, live in substandard housing, and are paid a pittance for the chance to get to the Show? The owners are very wealthy people or corporations that make substantial profits from those elite players. We don’t watch the owners we watch and root for the players and teams. I find it fascinating that a large percentage of the US working class has been propagandized to root for the wealthy, the top 1%! It’s mind-boggling to me.

      3. Ok, get off of Bellinger’s back. The guy was injured. That greatly contributed to his struggles. He got a raise, yes, but he was arbitration eligible. And the 11.5 mil, he made that in 2020 because he was paid 605,000 in 2019 when he won the MVP. He made 16,1 mil last season, His 2022 salary is a little higher than that. He is making 17 mil this season.

    2. I completely agree with you. I am very glad the Players Association is working to get the Minor League players better treatment. Their payment and housing from what I have read are disgraceful for a sport worth billions…

    1. Hey Bums, great to see you here. Quite an article for those who are interested in a bit of a deep dive into analytics.
      I’m just waiting for Bear to show up and tell you he doesn’t give a damn and knows a good player when he sees one. 🙂

      1. I don’t give a damn, I know a good player when I see one. ……satisfied>>>????????????LOL

  7. Some good news! (Maybe)
    MLB has requested that a federal mediator be brought in to help with negotiations. This can only be done if the players agree to it as well. Hopefully, they will, and maybe this will help reach a faster settlement………………………..or not.

    1. Well the players shot it down. They say lets get it done at the negotiating table. I am fed up with the whole damn thing.

      1. Good! The players need to roll back some of the gains the owners got from the last contract. A mediator would not help with that. This is about key issues that the players must win I estimate that we will lose at minimum a quarter of the season.

      2. And that is ok with you? Sorry, I think both sides have their head up their butts. We have lost enough baseball to the pandemic, don’t need this kind of crap.

      3. I’m with you on this one Bear. What they are fighting over seems silly to me. This fan’s message to all of them – hey, you guys have a great thing going on here. Don’t ef it up by ignoring “your base”. Compromise and play ball dammit.

        I get all games televised through Spectrum Sports Net. I also get the Lakers, and other sporting events in that package. It’s not that expensive so I’ll keep it. I love watching the Dodgers on summer evenings. But I’m done buying tickets, hats, shirts, or any other paraphernalia. They lost my b.I.s. revenue several years ago. I used to go to Spring Training when I lived in Arizona but didn’t even do that my last few years there.

        I’ll wait this out of course. No choice in that. But,as I’m finding with many things as I age, MLB is losing its importance in my life. Still love the game of course. It’s a beautiful game, but it’s an ugly business.

      4. Totally agree with you Scoop. Being in Colorado, the only way I can get Dodger games is MLB.TV. Last year I got it pretty cheap because I was gone and did not renew until I got back. When I go back they had a Veteran’s discount going on, so I got the last 4 months of the season for 40 bucks. But the normal cost is 120 for the year, or 25 a month. Just a wee bit high for me right now, People were giving me all different solutions. Like getting a VPN. Which I am looking into. But, the longer they drag this childish BS out, the less inclined I am to pay. It would be cheaper for me to get a cable box for 7 bucks a month and add the sports package for another 5.

  8. Minor league players are assets and a few of them will make the MLB. They should be able to benefit from good food/diets and receive great training. Maybe teams should have dorms near the their minor league ballparks. That said, few 18 year olds just out of high school are going to earn a living wage and if not living at home are going to live very modestly at best.

    College kids are paying tuition, buying books, either commuting from their parents homes or living with others in dorms or cheap apartments. They have to feed themselves. They often leave college whether graduating or not with debt and then look for a job. Can’t feel too sorry for a minor leaguer who gets paid compared to a college student who doesn’t get paid and has to pay for their training.

    Going to college or playing in the minor leagues is an investment, a risky investment. The best will get paid well.

    I think teams that offer $30MM annual contracts to players should have to pay a tax on that player. Maybe an escalating tax on players starting at $22MM annual salaries instead of a tax on a team’s total salary. That eliminates the issue of where the CBT starts in its current format.

    I think the first 5 draft choices should be a lottery with all 30 teams participating. The bottom 10 teams get 3 chances each, the middle teams get 2 chances per team, and the top 10 teams get one chance.

    I think some teams will put inexperienced AAAA players on their active rosters instead of better veteran players in order to save a few million dollars. Ratchet up the minimum wage and that strategy becomes less attractive. A minimum salary and a minimum payroll would help fix that. A $600,000 minimum salary and a $50M minimum payroll maybe?

    I think the very best players, potential HOF/MVP type players, are good early in their careers. They can get injured and wind up with only a few years in the Majors and earn peanuts compared to their contribution. Take a look at the last three years and identify those players. Agree that they should earn at least $5MM and then calculate the amount need to fund a bonus pool and fund it accordingly.

    1. Some interesting thoughts here. Are you available to be the arbitrator in case the players change their mind?

      I doubt you’d ever get MLB to accept a tax on players making over $22MM but no tax on total payroll. You’d have teams like the Dodgers signing bunches of players for around $20MM and a couple at $30MM and create even more of a gap in total payrolls than you have now.

      Out of curiosity I checked the difference from lowest to highest payroll in both MLB and the NBA. The lowest payroll team in the NBA has a payroll that is 44% as high as the highest team (so if we round off generously, 1/2 as much).
      In MLB, the lowest payroll was only 15% of the highest (about 1/6 as much). That’s a massive difference. I still say, weed out the owners who won’t spend and let guys like Cuban and Ballmer buy teams. They’ll be happy to spend like drunken sailors and everyone goes home happy.

      1. I read this somewhere, didn’t verify it…..

        Major League Baseball has the best pension program in all of sports. A big league player needs just 43 days of service to qualify for a pension benefit. Forty-three days of service can guarantee an MLB player a $34,000 per year pension benefit. One day on an active roster qualifies a player for full comprehensive medical benefits.

        If that’s true, and the minimum salary is a half mil a year, it’s my opinion big league baseball players have little room to gripe. Minor League Baseball is a different game, especially the lower leagues. I have high school teammate that played 4 years at USC, won National Championships, then played, and was a player manager, in the minors into his 30s. He said he made a decent living, including a few side jobs from local merchants in towns in which he played. He loved it. He’s now in Investment Management in Colorado. He’s probably an outlier, and with a degree from USC had options, but there are more difficult jobs for 18-21 year olds. You don’t like playing baseball, you can join the Marines.

  9. You guys see how the minor leaguers are compensated, and treated, that’s what the owners would do to the major league players if they could. The only thing that stops them is the players union. The mlbpa cannot afford to sign another contract, like last time, where the owners position gets even stronger. There needs to be a balance in the control of baseball, if the balance keeps going the owners way, like it has been, I’m afraid it will ruin the game. I get the comments about the players making ludicrous money, it’s true in one sense, but this is about control, as much as it’s about the money. I don’t think there is any fan that doesn’t know the owners are all a bunch of greedy business owners, they would pay minimum wage if they could get away with it.

    I know the minor league compensation is an issue, but the players need to keep their eye on the ball. This contract needs to be about not letting the owners keep turning the CBT into a de facto salary cap. That’s what the owners want.

    The players have a huge bargaining chip, the expanded playoffs are worth 300 million extra per season to the owners, I hope the players don’t waste it by getting the minor leaguers an extra hundred bucks a month, and a couple dollars extra on their per diam, because that’s probably all the owners would like to offer.

  10. Why should I cry for guys making a lot more money in a month than I get in a full year? Even the lowest paid player gets way more than I do. Then they want me to pay those sky high ticket prices? The Rangers spent 500 million dollars on FOUR PLAYERS! So I am not crying for the owners either. Baseball is the entertainment business, and the entertainment business is getting way to expensive.

  11. Some well-known personality with a big presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) should post a statement about how the fans, the real support of MLB and the players, are getting fed up with this and ask for people to sign on to a pledge that they won’t buy any MLB-related goods in 2022. I bet they could easily get millions of people to do that and maybe it would wake up both sides who refuse to get a deal done.

    1. Yeah, someone should do that.

      But it won’t change anything. Fans are suckers. We can let them know what we think but they know come Opening Day the seats will be filled.

      Yep, fans. We suck.

      1. I’ll show them. I was planning to buy a suite for opening day and invite everyone who visits here on a regular basis to be my guest. Anyone from out of town, I was going to fly in.

        But now I’m not going to do it.

        There, I’ve gotten the ball rolling. Wait till they see this. I bet there will be an agreement within 48 hours.

      2. I think you should do all that anyway, and instead of going to the suite we can stand outside with large posters protesting the egregious treatment of fans. I might have to wait in the car though, my lower back won’t let me stand long periods and carrying a heavy sign is out of the question. And depending on what day it actually is I may have a doctors appointment, but I’ll be with you in spirit.

      3. It’s the thought that counts.
        Tell you what. We’ll duplicate the poster wording on a small piece of paper, I’ll bring you a folding chair and I’ll arrange to have your doctor meet you at the stadium.

    1. I used to spend time every year trying to think of how to be better at my job……………………..it never worked.

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