MLB proposes changes to tax penalties and minimum wage structure in latest proposal to locked out players, sources say

Major League Baseball has refined its proposal for the competitive balance tax, among other proposed changes at its meeting with the players’ association on Saturday, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN. The change to the CBT eliminates draft selection penalties for teams exceeding the first threshold while increasing the threshold for previous offers in the final three years of the deal, sources said.

Sources have told ESPN’s Joon Lee that the players came out of the meeting unimpressed with the league’s offer and the two sides are still extremely far from a deal.

The changes to MLB’s proposal came two days after commissioner Rob Manfred said, “You’re still a breakthrough away from getting a deal done,” as both sides hope to make meaningful progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement and end a lockout that lasted more than two months.

Sources said MLB presented a 130-page proposal to the union covering all aspects of the CBA, big and small. With spring training camps expected to open in days, the league hopes the proposal will kick-start negotiations.

In addition to changes to the CBT, the league has also introduced changes to the minimum wage structure, increased its pre-offer bonus offer and attempted to further discourage on-duty manipulation, sources said.

The proposal does not address revenue sharing or arbitration years – two major sticking points for the union so far.

The CBT proposal includes an offer to increase the first threshold. The league had proposed a raise to $220 million by 2026 but is increasing it to $222 million, sources said. The threshold would still start at $214 million in 2022.

By eliminating the non-monetary penalty for going over $214 million, MLB hopes it will incentivize teams close to the first threshold to keep spending.

Under previous rules and proposals, teams would have given up a third-round pick in the amateur (and potentially international) draft for exceeding that threshold, but that has been eliminated in this proposal, sources said. So in the first year of the deal, teams with payrolls between $214 million and $234 million would no longer lose draft picks.

Tougher financial penalties would still exist at all thresholds compared to the last CBA, although only four teams have ever surpassed the $234 million mark.

The union, however, wants a much higher threshold.

MLB has indicated it won’t break the status quo for years toward arbitration or revenue sharing, so Saturday’s framework may not be a game-changer to break the impasse.

Most teams are expected to open camp on Monday or Tuesday, but that’s not likely as the sport remains in a lockdown instituted by the owners in December.

Other highlights of Saturday’s proposal by the league, according to sources:

Minimum wage

Previously, MLB had offered direct salaries of $615,000, $650,000, and $700,000 for players ages zero to 3. On Saturday, he bumped this past year to $725,000.

MLB also offered a new option: a minimum of $630,000 in the first year of the deal, with the ability for teams to award raises as they see fit — as they have in the past. the past – in years 2 and 3 before the players hit. arbitration. It also means that players can be “rolled over” for smaller raises.

The jump to $630,000 would double the raise players have received between the last two CBAs, but still falls short of the union’s desire for a minimum wage of $775,000.

Pre-arbitrage bonus pool

The league increased its offer from $10 million to $15 million while offering a panel of six people – three from each side – to develop a mutually agreeable WAR statistic to allocate the funds. The top 30 WAR players and winners would be eligible for the bonus pool.

The syndicate asked for a bonus pool of $100 million, down from a previous offer of $105 million.

Service Time Manipulation

The league has incentivized teams to keep their best prospects at the majors, offering them two draft picks in the player’s first three years if he finishes in the top three in the Rookie of the Year Cy Young vote. or MVP. Previously, the league offered one additional draft pick per player in its first three years.

Under the new storyline, the Chicago Cubs would have received an additional draft pick after Kris Bryant won Rookie of the Year in 2015 and another pick the following year when he was the league MVP. National League. But that would only have happened if Bryant had been credited with a full year of service. He was about 10 days short in 2015 when the Cubs broke camp with him in the minors.

Roster continuity: The rule would limit the total number of minor league options in a season to five, although its requirement would give the league the power to limit the number of minor league players in each organization.

Physical before the repechage: Call it the Kumar Rocker rule after the 2021 New York Mets draft pick was unsigned by the team last summer due to health issues. According to the league proposal, players can submit a physical pre-draft, and if a team selects them, it is necessary to pay the player at least 75% of the value of the slot and it cannot be failed by the team in a physical post-draft.

Write and follow: The league is proposing to reinstate a policy that teams can sign a player who may not be ready for professional baseball and send them to junior college for a year. The player could then be signed for up to $225,000 the following year. The policy is intended to help players who display ability but haven’t had much playing time or aren’t mature enough for professional baseball.

The changes to the league’s latest proposal are part of the CBA’s larger framework that would still include an NBA-style draft lottery, the elimination of draft pick pay for free agents, an increase in the pool draft rule 4, a universal designated hitter and expanded playoff. The league wants 14 teams in the playoffs. The players countered with 12.

William M. Mayer