LOCKOUT UPDATE: MLB Makes Slight Moves
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Baseball negotiations resumed with new intensity Monday in an effort to salvage opening day, and owners made a pair of slight moves toward locked-out players but put off big-ticket bargaining issues until later.
With a week or perhaps a little more time left to preserve openers on March 31, union head Tony Clark attended negotiations for the first time since the work stoppage began on Dec. 2.
New York Mets stars Max Scherzer and Francisco Lindor were among 10 players who were at a pair of sessions during a five-hour span. In contrast to the union leaders Tom Glavine and David Cone during the 1994-95 strike, none of these players spoke publicly.
MLB increased its offer of a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players by $5 million to $20 million that would go to 30 top players, a fraction of the $115 million for 150 players the union has asked for.
Clubs also increased their proposal for a lottery for the amateur draft from the top three picks to the top four. Players have asked for the top eight.
Teams also dropped their proposal to have the flexibility to decrease domestic minor league contracts along with a plan to limit optional assignments to five per player each season. The union opposed the minor league proposal and asked for a limit of four options.
The previous time the sides met, they talked for only 15 minutes on Thursday. This time, the parties described the discussions as candid and productive, but the union interpreted the slight moves as disappointing,
MLB canceled spring training games from Feb. 26 through March 4 and has told the union a deal is needed by Feb. 28 for opening day to come off as scheduled. Players have not said whether they agree that is a deadline, and past practice indicates a deal could be reached in early March that would allow sufficient training time.