Although it is generally accepted that MLB’s approach to CBA negotiations during the lockout involves a desire to or receive an extremely lucrative deal (their third consecutive CBA), or cancel a significant portion of the less profitable early part of the season. All the behaviors from November suggest that this was the approach.
But even when this supposed plan was played out quite clearly last week, and even when the players eventually turned down a deal that wouldn’t move the ball nearly enough for them, it’s important to remember that just as the “players” aren’t just one person. , The “owners” are also not just one person. They are 30 different groups in different markets with different revenue patterns and different incentives. Like it or not, you really have to build coalitions in their ranks to make a deal, no matter how fair or unfair we may think the various offers are. This does not justify what the owners have done. It is simply a recognition of the reality of bargaining in this sport.
With that in mind, I think it’s helpful – but keep that in mind – to know how many owners actually participated in MLB’s “best” offer, rejected by players, before Monday’s deadline, which led to canceled games:
Before submitting the “best and final offer”, 30 MLB owners gathered in a call to Zoom from 3 sources.
4 voted against because they think it is too generous (!).
More will vote against if CBT exceeds $ 220. So the offer for DOA was too high for some owners.
– Andy Martino (@martinonyc) March 3, 2022
Let me state in advance that I have no doubt that this is true. But I’m not sure how much this tells you, because you have to keep at least a few things in mind:
1.) It’s a pretty intimate detail that comes out of the owners’ meeting, which suggests they’re not very upset about being there. And, for convenience, the fact that raising the CBT (also known as the luxury tax) could force too many homeowners to vote against and make the deal impossible means “obviously players just have to accept a starting level of $ 220 million for the first year CBT. ” In other words, this could be a strategic part of the negotiations through the media.
2.) It’s one thing to vote against when you know you’re probably not going to be the deciding vote and you’re going to blow things up for 20+ other owners other than wanting a deal. It is another thing to be that decisive voice and then to stand firm in the face of further discussion from the other owners. It is possible that if things get to the point where there are enough owners who vote against to hold things back, further discussion will begin and not all votes against will remain against.
Regarding the second: this is just a common point of voting. So I can’t go too far with him. Indeed, we already KNOW (uh, well, we strongly suspect…) that there may be a group of eight owners in smaller markets who really drive this bus. And if they find an offer that is unpleasant for their specific situation with making money, then they can really unite and stand firm in voting against.
HOWEVA, here’s the thing: if there are 22 other owners who really like the deal and want to get it done, then there are probably ways to negotiate between the owners to change the terms here or there to reassure enough guys from the smaller market to to get a deal (in ways that do not negatively affect the conditions for players). I don’t want to speculate on details, but if you own a small market and know that you are the top vote and you know that there is some way for your fellow owners to connect you with some incentive to change your mind, you can vote against. but then let them know that you are ready to be “convinced.”
That’s all I have to say, in fact I wouldn’t tear too much away from this report that there are four owners who voted against this offer, and more may vote against if CBT increases. It just seems too convenient to me, and it also seems to me that there are too many plausible ways for the owners’ camp to fix this. (Another report highlighting the critical importance of the luxury tax, among other things.)
However, there is a downside that is true, and we say it over and over again: it only takes eight owners to blow up a deal, so there are almost certainly LIMITS on what other owners and the commissioner can get done. Players will need to understand this at a strategic level and just try to get the best deal possible.
Specifically on CBT, my gut says they can get this first year, first level up to $ 230 million, but with much smaller increases over the next four years than they hope. Where there needs to be a lot more play – and what is not discussed enough – is where the second and third tiers fall (what if you take them up?) And what are the non-tax penalties for exceeding the CBT. A deal must be made that satisfies all parties due to the BALANCE of these factors. That’s not all for this first year, first level number.
So far, however, I don’t know if any of this matters, because we believe there are enough owners who are happy to miss the first month or so of the season, at least before they feel real financial pressure to get a deal.
In other words, while I think that the things from the “best and last” offer on Monday are interesting to break and discuss, I think that everything is somehow calibrated in the future, because the situation has changed fundamentally now that we are in missed games mode .
Representatives of both sides met again today to resume discussions, although negotiations will indeed have to take place this weekend if we want to avoid more cancellations of the match. My mathematical calculations say that if there is no deal by Sunday night (and there won’t be), then the next round of games will be cut off from the schedule.