Tuesday’s news: Labor talks on consecutive days; HOF results coming

Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

One way to know a labor situation is contentious: The good news sounds like bad news.

Monday’s meeting between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, in which the MLBPA responded to the league’s proposal with one of their own, failed to garner glowing reviews in and of itself. The most important news is that it’s leading to further in-person talks today.

The players made an attempt to advance conversations by dropping a couple of items they’d hoped to achieve: age-based free agency, and a reduction in revenue sharing to small-market teams. There’s probably a LIFO element to the MLBPA’s wish list, in that the first items cut were the ones they least expected to attain, but narrowing the agenda marks the start of actual movement toward a resolution.

Whether the league has any interest in doing the same remains to be seen. Evan Drellich relayed some aggressive rhetoric from the league’s camp:

In a meeting with the Players Association on Monday, Major League Baseball deputy commissioner Dan Halem said that MLB is willing to lose games over some of the outstanding issues the sides have, people with knowledge of the talks said.

Drellich says whether that sounded like an ultimatum or a mere accounting of a lockout’s potential consequences is in the ear of the beholder. That was the lede of Drellich’s story, but I found the second paragraph of the story far more intriguing:

Some on the players’ side were irked, too, by Rockies owner Dick Monfort, the chair of commissioner Rob Manfred’s seven-owner labor policy committee. Monfort, people with knowledge of the meeting said, complained about the difficulty at least some owners have affording teams, and the ancillary costs of ownership such as security and COVID-19 measures.

And this was backed up by another reporter in Toronto:

In previous CBA negotiations, we’ve seen the league have success in driving wedge issues through the MLBPA– first with PED testing, then with the international draft. This time around, the players’ approach seems to have solidified around getting paid earlier, and a distraction from their core economic aims hasn’t yet emerged.

Meanwhile, while the owners possess unfathomable wealth, that can’t be assumed to translate into a healthy bottom line sans games. There’s the debt service some ownership groups assumed in their purchase of teams, and there’s also the deflating regional sports network bubble that might not respond well to a lack of live programming.

The White Sox benefit from having relatively stable footing on all fronts, and if the withdrawn request for an age-based free agency means that players still remain tethered to their current team through their first six years in the league, their roster-building plans won’t be disrupted.

Besides further labor talks, Today also marks the announcement of the remainder of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. MLB Network will reveal whether any players have merited election at 5 p.m. tonight.

A look at Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker shows that David Ortiz (84.4 percent) is the only player likely to clear the 75 percent threshold. Barry Bonds (78.1) and Roger Clemens (77.1) are currently in the green, but they’ve taken big hits from the voters who haven’t made their ballots public every year, and I wouldn’t expect their final year to be any different. Ortiz’s vague PED ties and DH-heavy resume will probably hurt him a little bit, but I’m guessing he has enough of a cushion to gain entry to Cooperstown.

On the other side, Mark Buehrle is polling at 5.2 percent, giving him the slimmest of margins to advance to a third ballot. He fared better among private voters than public voters, so while I wouldn’t assume he’s in the clear, I’d say we’ll be talking about him again at this time in 2023 if I had to make a wager on it.

And finally, while the White Sox still haven’t made Oscar Colás and their other international signings official, we have the next best thing: the photo of pen to paper.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I honestly think if Elon Musk offered the owners $1B per team if they executed every player on their 40-man rosters, most of them would sign up. Short-term profit trumps greater long-term profits every time. Their contempt for the players and the fans is evident in every thing they do.

As Cirensica

Hernandez looks like he just turned 13.