The Mainboard MLB Lockout Thread

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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I'm (almost) speechless - and definitely pissed off at both sides (although more pox on the Owners).
Why would you be angry at both sides? The owners locked the players out. The players made a proposal in early December that the owners didn't respond to until six weeks later. And when they did, it was laughably bad. Then the owners start crying about mediation (PR ploy), start leaking that the union is being shadow run by Scott Boras (another PR ploy with a special guest boogey man that's completely untrue) and they also start hinting around the now that the leagues are shut down there's no real PED test (another greatest hits PR ploy).

The owners want to break the union. Badly. And they're trying to do everything that they can to get the public on its side. Only it's not working. Now, they're going to be the ones that are screwed because they need the revenue way more than the players do. And BTW, the players took their lumps the last two CBAs, so screw the owners and their greed. BTW, I expect Rob Manfred to completely fuck up his press conference today and say something that will anger the players going into this weekend's negotiations.
 

Rusty13

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Manfred says no delay as of yet. Seems to be heavily focused on this Saturday as key negotiating day with the players. This feels like we will have a good idea where things will be at by the end of the weekend. It's probably smart to try and iron this out over SB weekend in case things go directly south, as it will get buried in the media coverage.
 

VORP Speed

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Over the past two months I've had push notifications come to my phone from Twitter about Manfred's resignation. They never appear in the app when you click through to them. I figured they were some kind of scam, but it would be weird if it came to pass.

I thought chances were good of getting an agreement done when the players caved and gave up on age based free agency. But it seems like the owners would rather cancel a season than pay young talent closer to what they're worth. The players can't accept returning to the status quo as far as that goes. I'm not super optimistic that anything gets done soon.
I don’t think the owners really care too much about not paying young talent, they care about cost certainty and cost control. Give them a salary cap and the players can divide up the pie however they want. That’s really the fundamental problem for the union—which of their members are they fighting for? Anything they get that significantly increases the compensation for the young, pre-arb, pre-free agency players is going to eat into the massive multi-year free agent deals. Owners aren’t going to accept significant increases at both ends.
 

soxhop411

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Rob Manfred says the owners have officially accepted a universal DH while eliminating draft compensation for draft picks.
In news that should shock nobody, Manfred misspoke

View: https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1491815021646868480
A league spokesman said Rob Manfred misspoke about the competitive-balance tax today. What Manfred said was not true. He suggested the penalties for exceeding it are status quo. They are not. Each of the three thresholds is higher. Additionally, draft-pick penalties are higher.
 

Sin Duda

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Does anyone have John Henry's email address? Sure, he's a supremely successful businessman who knows how to treat his employees, but what if all of us sent emails such as this? We're the customers after all.

John, let us WATCH the GAMES!
[picture here of family watching Xander hit, which my laptop won't let me post]
 

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The public reaction to this is interesting. It's extremely rich guys vs. obscenely richer guys but basically everyone chirping about it aligns with the players. As if they're mistreated blue collar types represented by Local 12345. Which isn't to say I support the owners at all, but rather that I don't care at all about either side. They'll agree to something eventually and both be more than happy to continue to jack up ticket and concession prices for the fans after this is over.
 

Ale Xander

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The public reaction to this is interesting. It's extremely rich guys vs. obscenely richer guys but basically everyone chirping about it aligns with the players. As if they're mistreated blue collar types represented by Local 12345. Which isn't to say I support the owners at all, but rather that I don't care at all about either side. They'll agree to something eventually and both be more than happy to continue to jack up ticket and concession prices for the fans after this is over.
It’s about time that happened

the fans pay to watch the players not the owners
 

PrometheusWakefield

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The public reaction to this is interesting. It's extremely rich guys vs. obscenely richer guys but basically everyone chirping about it aligns with the players. As if they're mistreated blue collar types represented by Local 12345. Which isn't to say I support the owners at all, but rather that I don't care at all about either side. They'll agree to something eventually and both be more than happy to continue to jack up ticket and concession prices for the fans after this is over.
The owners have done literally nothing to earn or deserve public support. They screwed the players over in the last deal, they are the ones who initiated the lockout, they have made almost no effort on core economic issues, and now they are flat out lying in public about everything. It appears to me that their calculation is that public opprobrium doesn't matter. I wonder if at some point the representatives of the people start noticing that maybe Major League Baseball doesn't deserve their special exemption to anti-trust law.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The owners have done literally nothing to earn or deserve public support. They screwed the players over in the last deal, they are the ones who initiated the lockout, they have made almost no effort on core economic issues, and now they are flat out lying in public about everything. It appears to me that their calculation is that public opprobrium doesn't matter. I wonder if at some point the representatives of the people start noticing that maybe Major League Baseball doesn't deserve their special exemption to anti-trust law.
What have the players done to earn support other than play the game? The players have the best deal in professional supports; they've been happy to cave on the intetests of drafted players; they've shown no inkling on doing anything for minor leaguers; and the last bargaining session were hyper-focused on "quality of playing" issues IIRC.

Sure they'd take the status quo and that means they don't have to say anything publicly.

As pointed out before, if the owners got cost certainty like the other sports, they wouldn't really care how the players divvy up the pie but the players want incentives for owners to spend more, even though that only helps the top tier of players.
 

Ale Xander

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They didn't start the fight. They didn't choose to strike. They got locked out. Nearly every MLB player wants to get on the field and play and the owners are the ones threatening to take that away from everyone.
Clearly what they should have done is when offered contracts, say "I'm not sure you can afford this, can you pay me less?"
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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So you think they would have played under the existing CBA rules while the new one got worked out?
They might have started the season. No guarantee they'd have finished it. The 1994 strike happened after the season began with no active CBA and then the players waited until they had maximum leverage before they decided to strike: late enough in the season to put the World Series in jeopardy (while they had collected a good chunk of their paychecks as well). The owners didn't want that again, so they locked them out as soon as the CBA expired because for them, better to lose some spring training/early season games than the entire post-season.
 

OCD SS

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What have the players done to earn support other than play the game? The players have the best deal in professional supports…
Isn’t that enough? We pay money to watch the players, who are the best there is at something that’s extremely difficult, has a short shelf life for earnings, and generates billions of dollars in revenue. The owners have facilitated that, but is anyone interested in watching the owners of a team?

That other pro-sports players don’t have it as good as MLB players with a strong union doesn’t make me think baseball players should accept less, it makes me think other pro sports leagues should demand more.

…they've been happy to cave on the intetests of drafted players; they've shown no inkling on doing anything for minor leaguers; and the last bargaining session were hyper-focused on "quality of playing" issues IIRC.
This is absolutely true. I think it is unconscionable that the MLBPA is able to bargain away the rights of players they don’t represent. Probably the only step to fix it is for minor leaguers to unionize…

Sure they'd take the status quo and that means they don't have to say anything publicly.

As pointed out before, if the owners got cost certainty like the other sports, they wouldn't really care how the players divvy up the pie but the players want incentives for owners to spend more, even though that only helps the top tier of players.
We’ve disagreed about the top statement already, which I don’t think is true.

The most important part of this is that if the owners wanted that cost certainty and let the players divvy it up, they’d have to reveal the actual size of the pie. Do you think they’re willing to open their books to do that? I’m certainly not willing to take their word on it (which seems to be a key part of Manfred’s press conference).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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They didn't start the fight. They didn't choose to strike. They got locked out. Nearly every MLB player wants to get on the field and play and the owners are the ones threatening to take that away from everyone.
So just because the owners didn't want to give up leverage (as noted below), they are the villans?

The players have known this was coming for years. They haven't shown any urgency to negotiate. They didn't put out a serious proposal either. I mean they could have asked the owners to play under the current CBA with a promise not to strike before the playoffs but they didn't.

Yes the owners are trying to make more money. So are the players. There are no heroes here IMO. And I'll say this again - I don't think the players understand what is coming down the pike. Maybe I'm wrong and the sides will decide baseball is worth it. But the owners are going to get some concessions off the current deal, just a question of how much IMO.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Isn’t that enough? We pay money to watch the players, who are the best there is at something that’s extremely difficult, has a short shelf life for earnings, and generates billions of dollars in revenue. The owners have facilitated that, but is anyone interested in watching the owners of a team?

That other pro-sports players don’t have it as good as MLB players with a strong union doesn’t make me think baseball players should accept less, it makes me think other pro sports leagues should demand more.



This is absolutely true. I think it is unconscionable that the MLBPA is able to bargain away the rights of players they don’t represent. Probably the only step to fix it is for minor leaguers to unionize…



We’ve disagreed about the top statement already, which I don’t think is true.

The most important part of this is that if the owners wanted that cost certainty and let the players divvy it up, they’d have to reveal the actual size of the pie. Do you think they’re willing to open their books to do that? I’m certainly not willing to take their word on it (which seems to be a key part of Manfred’s press conference).
As for your first paragraph, if people want to root for the players like they are performing on the field, that's certainly cool. The only caution is that if the players overestimate the effect of public support, it could lead to a longer lockout.

As for your last paragraph, I feel like the books are a red herring. The other leagues have been able to get a deal without AFAIK "opening up the books". All that is needed is to figure out the material revenue streams, verify the amounts, define a "Baseball-related revenues", and then decide on a share. Athletes don't want to be equity partners, so their return will be fixed. That's what the other sports have done.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The players have known this was coming for years. They haven't shown any urgency to negotiate. They didn't put out a serious proposal either. I mean they could have asked the owners to play under the current CBA with a promise not to strike before the playoffs but they didn't.
Who, exactly, are the players supposed to negotiate with during the "years" that this was coming? The owners? The same owners when presented with an offer on December 5 sat on their ass for six weeks? The same owners who are constantly lying to the public that boogey man Scott Boras is the puppeteer or that all of the players are back on PEDs? The same owners who when they finally presented their offer was the equivalent of "go home and get your {collective] shine box? The owners that started this work stoppage by locking the players out?

Those owners?

And what are the players supposed to negotiate, how to get screwed more?

Give me a break.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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And what are the players supposed to negotiate, how to get screwed more?
Well really, they would negotiate to cut their losses.

Again, if you think the players are taking a principled and righteous stand for the good of baseball, that's great. I see this as a negotiation between two, very rich and very successful business interests that is going to grt ugly. YMMV.
 

canderson

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Well really, they would negotiate to cut their losses.

Again, if you think the players are taking a principled and righteous stand for the good of baseball, that's great. I see this as a negotiation between two, very rich and very successful business interests that is going to grt ugly. YMMV.
But that's fundamentally wrong because one side (the owners) hasn't negotiated in good faith. The MLBPA has no control over a side that refuses to negotiate, locks the players out of anything MLB-related, and then publicly pushes for a mediator.
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Well really, they would negotiate to cut their losses.

Again, if you think the players are taking a principled and righteous stand for the good of baseball, that's great. I see this as a negotiation between two, very rich and very successful business interests that is going to grt ugly. YMMV.
I never said that the players are principled or righteous. And they don't need to be, this is a negotiation. But they are not the aggressors here, they're the aggrieved party based on things that the owners are trying to do to them. I'm sorry that it sucks that young men make millions to hit a ball with a stick and that they're not going to start playing in a week. But that's not their fault. Whether you make a $42m or $42, it's not a good idea to let your bosses chip away at your rights. And if one side of the problem is going to lock you out and not take your desires seriously, what are they supposed to do?

Seriously, what would be a good solution?
 

geoflin

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I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it in this thread or if I missed reading where it was mentioned, but the MLBPA has accumulated a fair amount of cash over the past few years by withholding licensing and royalty fees paid for the benefit of the players during that time. Their intention is to use that fund to pay players something during a work stoppage. The amount of money going to players with minimum or relatively low salaries will help to offset their individual losses during whatever time they aren't being paid, which in turn will help the MLBPA to stick together should that stoppage be of longer duration. If the owners are counting on the players to fall back and cut their losses should regular season games be cancelled they may well be mistaken.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Well really, they would negotiate to cut their losses.

Again, if you think the players are taking a principled and righteous stand for the good of baseball, that's great. I see this as a negotiation between two, very rich and very successful business interests that is going to grt ugly. YMMV.
The players are trying to at least hold the line on an already inequitable deal with a bad faith counterparty. And, news flash: many of the players are NOT ‘very rich’ when you consider the minimum and median salaries, the proportion of players making middling salaries and the typical lengths of their careers. Don’t help the owners perpetuate the bullshit they peddle in work stoppages about how the players are sitting on their piles of cash scrounging for more while the fan suffers. The owners and players are not equivalent in their financial wherewithal.

I’ll take a lost season if it means they succeed.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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It’s interesting to me that it sure seems like the majority of people discussing this here and elsewhere are on the players’ side in this and most other labor disputes, yet - and I promise I’m not trying to call anyone out right now and I am completely guilty of this - we all still analyze transactions from the ownership point of view, eg “they overpaid for that guy” or “nice work getting a good player for cheap!”

I mean, I get it. Not much “analysis” anyone can do from the players’ point of view other than “good for him - he got a lot of money!” or “I’m surprised that he didn’t get more money.” I was just struck by it, I guess.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Whether you make a $42m or $42, it's not a good idea to let your bosses chip away at your rights.

* * * *

Seriously, what would be a good solution?
Seriously, "rights"? What "rights" are being chipped away? And where are these "rights" memorialized?

Look, the owners are trying to get the players to agree to cost certainty along the lines of the other US professional sports. Those aren't rights. They're just contractual provisions.

The players are trying to at least hold the line on an already inequitable deal with a bad faith counterparty.

* * * *

I’ll take a lost season if it means they succeed.
If the MLBPA has an inequitable deal, the other professional sports should just stop playing altogether, I guess.

That people are using terms like "rights" and "inequitable" means that the players have won the PR battle but it doesn't get any closer to a solution.

You're probably going to get your lost season, but like in hockey, that doesn't mean that the players are going to "succeed."

If the owners are counting on the players to fall back and cut their losses should regular season games be cancelled they may well be mistaken.
My personal opinion is that the owners are prepared for a lost season. The MLBPA may have a "war chest" but IIRC, every time there has been a major labor dispute in pro sports, the union always seems to have a "war chest" but that never seems to be enough. And even if they have a "war chest" to last a season, do they have enough to last two?

I'll just say this once again, if people think I'm on the side of the owners, I'm not. I'm just trying to see the reality in the situation. And even were I to think that the owners are collectively Satan Incarnate, it doesn't matter because a deal still has to be reached. And being able to deal with unreasonable people is the hallmark of being good at business.

In really don't really care how the parties split the $10B pie. One would think that the two sides could figure out how to do this without losing games. But apparently they cannot and my GUESS is that the more games are lost, the more leverage the owners will have.
 

PedroKsBambino

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With the Braves owned by Liberty Media they have to issue reports regarding income, expenses, etc. Travis Sawchik just tweeted out some info comparing 3Q 2020 to 3Q 2021. At least we can get a glimpse in to one team this way.
The charts came from Liberty Media.


View attachment 49274

View attachment 49275
I absolutely believe MLB teams are gaining value and are great investments. I think MLB representing otherwise is hollow, silly, and preposterous.

Those things said, comparing COVID-driven, no-fan revenue from 2020 to almost-regular 2021 requires a major caveat about the context I think.
 

absintheofmalaise

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I absolutely believe MLB teams are gaining value and are great investments. I think MLB representing otherwise is hollow, silly, and preposterous.

Those things said, comparing COVID-driven, no-fan revenue from 2020 to almost-regular 2021 requires a major caveat about the context I think.
True. But their earnings in Q3 of 2021 in those home games do give us an idea about what teams can and do earn.
 

effectivelywild

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It’s interesting to me that it sure seems like the majority of people discussing this here and elsewhere are on the players’ side in this and most other labor disputes, yet - and I promise I’m not trying to call anyone out right now and I am completely guilty of this - we all still analyze transactions from the ownership point of view, eg “they overpaid for that guy” or “nice work getting a good player for cheap!”

I mean, I get it. Not much “analysis” anyone can do from the players’ point of view other than “good for him - he got a lot of money!” or “I’m surprised that he didn’t get more money.” I was just struck by it, I guess.
I think one of the reasons why there is this cognitive dissonance is that, broadly speaking, we think players overall should get all the money can (at least when compared to owners) but we also want our own team to be as good as possible. And given that the luxury tax is treated as a de facto salary cap, that means that we also are evaluating each player as an opportunity cost, both in terms of roster spot and how much of the "salary cap" they occupy. "Getting a guy for cheap" means they have "more space" for other guys; if the team didn't have an upper limit on how much they were willing to spend, I'm sure we wouldn't care as much about how much guys are getting paid. I think this also factors into why guys like Steinbrenner (and Henry, apparently) are in favor of lowering the luxury tax thresholds---sure, both guys are willing to use their financial resources to sign everyone they can up to the luxury tax line but if the line is lower---they are happy to spend less to do so.

Plus, having a guy overproduce his contract makes us feel like we're a fan of a team with smart people working for it---and that makes US feel smart.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Might be covered elsewhere, but this seems significant: Rob Manfred said the owners have agreed to a universal DH and eliminating draft pick compensation for free agents.

I continue to be confused by the approach to these negotiations. Why would the owners agree to these changes in a piecemeal way? PR? Why not make it conditional: owners are willing to consider...?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Might be covered elsewhere, but this seems significant: Rob Manfred said the owners have agreed to a universal DH and eliminating draft pick compensation for free agents.

I continue to be confused by the approach to these negotiations. Why would the owners agree to these changes in a piecemeal way? PR? Why not make it conditional: owners are willing to consider...?
I think it's primarily PR. Those are two things MLBPA are asking for, but they're also two rather low priority items in the grand scheme and probably were never in much doubt. Manfred commits the owners to it publicly to make it look like they are negotiating in good faith. Meanwhile, their actual proposals at the negotiating table are keeping the two sides far apart on the more important things.
 

TheGazelle

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Seriously, "rights"? What "rights" are being chipped away? And where are these "rights" memorialized?
Contractual rights are still rights. The fact that they are sitting in the CBA doesn't change that fact. The owners are trying to force the players into a worse version of that contract, with the result of the players having fewer rights to, for example, choose what team to play for or how much they make.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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I think one of the reasons why there is this cognitive dissonance is that, broadly speaking, we think players overall should get all the money can (at least when compared to owners) but we also want our own team to be as good as possible. And given that the luxury tax is treated as a de facto salary cap, that means that we also are evaluating each player as an opportunity cost, both in terms of roster spot and how much of the "salary cap" they occupy. "Getting a guy for cheap" means they have "more space" for other guys; if the team didn't have an upper limit on how much they were willing to spend, I'm sure we wouldn't care as much about how much guys are getting paid. I think this also factors into why guys like Steinbrenner (and Henry, apparently) are in favor of lowering the luxury tax thresholds---sure, both guys are willing to use their financial resources to sign everyone they can up to the luxury tax line but if the line is lower---they are happy to spend less to do so.

Plus, having a guy overproduce his contract makes us feel like we're a fan of a team with smart people working for it---and that makes US feel smart.
Sure, I think you’re spot-on with all of this. The other thing I would add is that for a lot of fans, roster-building is a part (if not the part) of the game that feels accessible in a way. Speaking for myself, at least, I’m not an athlete. There’s only so much I’m ever going to know or understand about how Carlos Correa hits or plays defense. But I can look at various pieces of information and formulate an opinion on whether or not the Red Sox should sign him (even as I acknowledge that Bloom and co. are probably working with even more information than I’ve got).

I think it would be interesting to look at the free-agency process from a player’s point-of-view, but I’m not sure how possible it really is absent some unusual candor from a player. We tend to assume it always boils down to who offers the most money, which doesn’t make for particularly interesting discussions, but I always wonder about that.
 

OCD SS

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Look, the owners are trying to get the players to agree to cost certainty along the lines of the other US professional sports.
I don't want to belabor points I've already responded to, but I don want to push back on the "cost certainty" idea, especial because the italicized is doing a ton of heavy lifting in making ownership's approach to the negotiations seem reasonable.

The owners set the budgets for the teams they own. They pretty much have cost certainty up and down the line within those budgets. They've already been paid for their TV contracts and a host of other revenue streams as was demonstrated upthread with regards to the Rays; they already have enough money to pay the players without selling a single ticket. If the owners wanted certainty that would come simply by reaching an agreement with the players. Then they would be able to see where the cost limitations are and decide if it's worth it to their business ventures to try expend some capital to make improvements that would pay off later...

What the owners are actually looking for is increased profit certainty by depressing the cost of labor. That the player's unions of other professional leagues have been rendered toothless does not make it reasonable to assume that MLB players should also be subject to the same limitations.

My personal opinion is that the owners are prepared for a lost season. The MLBPA may have a "war chest" but IIRC, every time there has been a major labor dispute in pro sports, the union always seems to have a "war chest" but that never seems to be enough. And even if they have a "war chest" to last a season, do they have enough to last two?
But Manfred came out and said that the owners weren't making that much money. I mean, the Cubs sustained biblical losses. If the owners have enough of a war chest to last 2 seasons without games to break the union, doesn't that put a lie to the idea that MLB teams are somehow not made enough money?

... And being able to deal with unreasonable people is the hallmark of being good at business.
Honest question: Do you think the players are the party acting unreasonably?
 

BringBackMo

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Seriously, "rights"? What "rights" are being chipped away? And where are these "rights" memorialized?

Look, the owners are trying to get the players to agree to cost certainty along the lines of the other US professional sports. Those aren't rights. They're just contractual provisions.


If the MLBPA has an inequitable deal, the other professional sports should just stop playing altogether, I guess.

That people are using terms like "rights" and "inequitable" means that the players have won the PR battle but it doesn't get any closer to a solution.

You're probably going to get your lost season, but like in hockey, that doesn't mean that the players are going to "succeed."



My personal opinion is that the owners are prepared for a lost season. The MLBPA may have a "war chest" but IIRC, every time there has been a major labor dispute in pro sports, the union always seems to have a "war chest" but that never seems to be enough. And even if they have a "war chest" to last a season, do they have enough to last two?

I'll just say this once again, if people think I'm on the side of the owners, I'm not. I'm just trying to see the reality in the situation. And even were I to think that the owners are collectively Satan Incarnate, it doesn't matter because a deal still has to be reached. And being able to deal with unreasonable people is the hallmark of being good at business.

In really don't really care how the parties split the $10B pie. One would think that the two sides could figure out how to do this without losing games. But apparently they cannot and my GUESS is that the more games are lost, the more leverage the owners will have.
I know from our past discussion about the lockout in a different thread that you are not reflexively “pro owner.” Your frustration seems largely to be that, in pointing out the owners’ greed, people seem to you to be painting the players as beaten-down heroes. I do think you may be overlooking the degree to which the owners are contributing to this dynamic, and, in fact, may not be operating in a way that respects the value that the players provide to them. And that is going to piss fans off—including me, if I’m honest.

As I pointed out in that other discussion, it has been reported that the owners starting point in negotiations wasn’t just to slow the percentage growth of player salaries, but to actually reduce in real dollars the amount that is paid to players. This reported proposal comes at a time of massive growth in league revenues AND franchise valuations.

The league recently signed national tv contract extensions that are estimated by Forbes to increase tv revenues by 65 percent, and total local television rights revenues are estimated by this Fangraphs writer to have increased by a third in the past four years. And we’ve already discussed in this thread the spectacular rise in franchise values since 2000.

So the pie is growing, and the attitude of owners appears to be, “Yes, we have more pie, but we’re giving you even less than you got last time.” In the other thread, a few of us tried to think of another example of a major sports league starting negotiations on a new contract this way. There were examples from I think the NFL of lower overall percentages of revenues going to players, but those still meant more dollars in player pockets because the revenue pie was bigger. There were also examples of player salaries falling in certain years, but those were the result not of negotiated decreases but of dips in revenue during years in which player payrolls were tied to revenues. I think the only example we ended up coming up with was when @Harry Hooper found that the NHL had successfully slashed payroll by 20 percent back in 2004.

Turning for a moment to the concessions the owners are reported to have made recently—the universal DH and eliminating draft compensation in free agent signings—these are broadly and correctly understood to benefit players in terms of leading to increased salaries. But if the luxury tax threshold is actually lowered, as owners are reported to want, than It significantly mitigates or eliminates the effects of those changes. “We won’t lose a draft pick if we sign Martinez…but we can only pay him this much or we hit the threshold and will lose draft picks and international dollars.”

MLB is awash in money right now, more than it was before. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for fans to expect that the players benefit from that as well. That is why fans are sympathizing with millionaire players right now, and demonizing owners. (Well that and Manfred standing in front of reporters and full-on lying about the rise in franchise valuations.) It doesn’t matter to fans that baseball players have a better deal than other athletes. It matters that they deserve to share in the gains of league revenues. I’m not saying you’re saying this, but do you think the owners should get to keep those gains? That’s how this negotiation posture is coming across to fans.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Contractual rights are still rights. The fact that they are sitting in the CBA doesn't change that fact. The owners are trying to force the players into a worse version of that contract, with the result of the players having fewer rights to, for example, choose what team to play for or how much they make.
OK, "contractual rights" are "rights" I guess but those "rights" only last as long as the contract is in effect. And if you want to look at it legally, the contract has expired so those "rights" are no longer existing.

I definitely agree that the owners are trying to get a more favorable deal - i.e., a less favorable deal for the players. This is the NHL all over again and like the NHL, I'm not sure what the players strategy is. I'm pretty sure I know what the owners strategy is but the MLBPA seems to be running the same strategy as the NHLPA and don't think that worked out well for the [layers.
 
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BringBackMo

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Honest question: Do you think the players are the party acting unreasonably?
I interpreted his comment to mean that the owners are being unreasonable but that shouldn’t buy the players sympathy because being unreasonable is part of negotiating and dealing with unreasonable people is part of business.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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in making ownership's approach to the negotiations seem reasonable.
Again, I'm not saying the owners are being reasonable.
Honest question: Do you think the players are the party acting unreasonably?
I think both sides are acting unreasonably, but I don't care much about that. Maybe this is a better way to put it - I think the players are acting "unstrategically."

I know from our past discussion about the lockout in a different thread that you are not reflexively “pro owner.” Your frustration seems largely to be that, in pointing out the owners’ greed, people seem to you to be painting the players as beaten-down heroes. I do think you may be overlooking the degree to which the owners are contributing to this dynamic, and, in fact, may not be operating in a way that respects the value that the players provide to them. And that is going to piss fans off—including me, if I’m honest.
And just to finish the thought off, I'm fine if people want to root for the players on this subject. I don't really see this as av event for which one has a rooting interest as much as a business negotiation where sides try to use leverage to get what they want. I wholeheartedly agree that the owners are trying to make players take less of the pie. In terms we've used in other labor threads, the owners are trying to get the players to agree to a structure that protects the owners from themselves. Apparently, owners have figured out that people like to win and teams will find loopholes to keep spending money and once a couple of teams figure that out, the other teams have to follow to compete.

In a normal negotiation, the two sides might take the status quo and each side gives a little bit to get a little bit. But this isn't a normal negotiation. Something like 20 years ago, the MLBPA had the most one-sided in all of sports. The owners have chipped away at it (some of that due to less competent negotiating on the players part) but it's pretty clear the owners want a more complete teardown.

I hope the players realize this. If the players think they are getting a better deal than the last deal, I think they are sorely mistaken. I also think the players would be happy to continue the last deal (which maybe they shoukd have talked about a year ago). But I don't think the owners will agree to the last deal.

If that all makes people want to root for the players that's great but IMO nothing is going to get done until they start having marathon negotiating sessions, and they need to be way closer before that will happen.
 

BringBackMo

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I think both sides are acting unreasonably, but I don't care much about that. Maybe this is a better way to put it - I think the players are acting "unstrategically."
I have followed the owners and their proposals and actions much more closely than I have the players. In other words, this is legitimately a question, and I would legitimately appreciate your thoughts: How are the players being unreasonable? And how are they acting un-strategically? What should they be doing differently? Again, I am asking these questions in good faith and am interested in your thoughts.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Imagine tomorrow the CEO of your company says "Folks, sorry to say this, but you all are making too much money. Yes, you only make what we agree to pay you and yes, revenues are growing faster than salaries, but still, we've decided that it's too much and we're sick of paying it. We need more "cost certainty". So we've gotten together with all the other CEOs in this business and we've decided we are going to set a cap luxury tax on total employee salaries industry wide. Somehow that is legal for us because the Supreme Court has decided that this specific many billion dollar industry does not constitute commercial activity and therefore you have no protection from anti-competitive acts by your employer. Your choices are to hand over more of the surplus value of your labor or we will lock you out of the building and abrogate all our contracts with all of you until you relent. Meanwhile here is some utter bullshit numbers about how this industry is barely profitable."

For me, there is no comparison between the two sides here. Major League Baseball as an institution is at root a conspiracy against the public whose primary function was to reduce their employees to reserve clause peonage, a status that continues to this day for the majority of players who have not achieved the arbitrary levels of "service time" that allows them the same freedom of contract that employees in every other field have as a matter of right. The Major League Baseball Players Association was the intuition created to resist that.
 
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Comfortably Lomb

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Imagine tomorrow the CEO of your company says "Folks, sorry to say this, but you all are making too much money. Yes, revenues are growing more and yes, you only make the money we agree to pay you, but still, we've decided that it's too much and we're sick of paying it. We need more "cost certainty". So we've gotten together with all the other CEOs in this business and we've decided we are going to set a cap luxury tax on total employee salaries industry wide. And somehow that's not illegal because the Supreme Court has decided that this specific many billion dollar industry does not constitute commercial activity and therefore you have no protection from anti-competitive acts by your employer. Your choices are to hand over more of the surplus value of your labor or we will lock you out of the building and abrogate all our contracts with all of you until you relent. Meanwhile here is some utter bullshit numbers about how this industry is barely profitable."
In this hypothetical am I one of about 1200 rich guys who can just group together and pay some lawyers to sort it out while I play golf because work is cancelled for the foreseeable future?
 

snowmanny

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Two issues where I am very pro player:

1 Minimum Salary. Think about someone who toils for years in the minor leagues. Makes it to the big leagues at 24-25, which is an incredible accomplishment, lasts say three and a half years, and then goes back to minors for a bit and ends up out of baseball. What's the total earnings there? $2Million? Seems way low to me. In the NBA and the NFL most players are just on the roster from the beginning of their pro career. Not so much in baseball.

2. Earlier arbitration. Seems to me that I've heard 1000 times that the best deals for owners are players under the initial team control and the worst deals tend to be high-priced free agents. So if I were the MLBPA I'd be worried those FA deals might diminish with time and that it makes sense to improve the income earlier in the deal. If giving the next Betts/Pujols more money at age 24 means there will be less money to give them at age 38 that seems like a sound practice for all sides.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Imagine tomorrow the CEO of your company says "Folks, sorry to say this, but you all are making too much money. Yes, you only make what we agree to pay you and yes, revenues are growing faster than salaries, but still, we've decided that it's too much and we're sick of paying it. We need more "cost certainty". So we've gotten together with all the other CEOs in this business and we've decided we are going to set a cap luxury tax on total employee salaries industry wide. Somehow that is legal for us because the Supreme Court has decided that this specific many billion dollar industry does not constitute commercial activity and therefore you have no protection from anti-competitive acts by your employer. Your choices are to hand over more of the surplus value of your labor or we will lock you out of the building and abrogate all our contracts with all of you until you relent. Meanwhile here is some utter bullshit numbers about how this industry is barely profitable."

For me, there is no comparison between the two sides here. Major League Baseball as an institution is at root a conspiracy against the public whose primary function was to reduce their employees to reserve clause peonage, a status that continues to this day for the majority of players who have not achieved the arbitrary levels of "service time" that allows them the same freedom of contract that employees in every other field have as a matter of right. The Major League Baseball Players Association was the intuition created to resist that.
You are assuming out the notion of collective bargaining, though, which is a massive miss for the hypothetical. Both sides have agreed to bargain collectively and have the decisions made govern all owners and all players. That is not the case for the typical business - and it is something true for both sides, not only the owners as you suggest above.

I will guess no one here who has read anything about baseball history would try to argue the owners as a group, over the history of baseball, have been "good actors". But, at a tactical level, how bad the owners may or may not be as human beings is also pretty irrelevant. If I were advising the players I'd be focused on the discussion WBCD is trying to take the thread towards, because I don't think there's a path here which is "Congress steps in and forces the owners to do X because they're really bad people". And unless someone believes there is, the path forward is about understanding their respective interests, understanding their viable alternatives, and using those to shape some options each can agree to.

For me, and I may be in the distinct minority here, that requires us to really think about what's yessable for the owners and the players. For that analysis, the starting point matters (whether it is fair or not) as both a psychological and economic anchor. And so, again not making a value judgment just assessing the negotiation landscape, I do think each side has to be realistic about how far they can move from the current agreement, and also should be thinking about what has led to agreements in the nearest comparators out there, which are the other sports leagues. So, again for me, "cost certainty" is a very relevant notion even if it is not, in the abstract "fair" or what any of us might design if we were starting wtih a blank slate - the reality is these parties aren't starting wtih one either, nor does labor law suggest that is the proper way to assess a potential agreement.
 
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wade boggs chicken dinner

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I have followed the owners and their proposals and actions much more closely than I have the players. In other words, this is legitimately a question, and I would legitimately appreciate your thoughts: How are the players being unreasonable? And how are they acting un-strategically? What should they be doing differently? Again, I am asking these questions in good faith and am interested in your thoughts.
You've followed this more closely than I have so here's my question for you - do you really think what I guess were MLBPA's first two proposals were reasonable? Age-based FA, elevated luxury tax, earlier salary arbitration? https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/11/mlbpa-makes-second-core-economics-proposal-to-mlb.html. All of those are non-starters to the owners. I mean I'm not saying that players have to be reasonable when the owners are being unreasonable but the players offers' don't strike me as reasonable.

As for what the players should do, it's hard to say. I don't know what their goals are or what the rank and file want. If the players' strategy is to try to get the status quo +, then this is the way the should do it. I don't think that's a good strategy and I think they are going to have long fight and end up with less but there are a lot more players than owners.

If the players recognize that more cost control is in their future, it probably would have made sense for them to get ahead of this. They could have started by defining Baseball Related Revenues and suggesting a split, with a cushion to make for up for owners' revenues that can't be captured by the definition - like the NBA players did.

Also, if I were the players, I'd be pushing the owners to negotiate in person as often as possible.

Finally, one interesting proposal would have been to extend the current agreement for one year with a promise not to lock-out or strike before the end of the playing year. The owners obviously didn't want a repeat of history where the players threatened to strike after the season end which would affect almost totally owners' revenues.

But again, it's hard to know for sure without knowing more about the internal conversations.

The Tl; Dr. The players' first two proposals weren't reasonable to me. Also, the players have been unreasonably - or unstrategically - passive about the negotiations up to now. One thing I really don't understand is why the players seem content to miss games. Do the players think that missing a few games is going to help with their negotiating leverage? It all seems weird to me but what do I know?
 

BringBackMo

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You are assuming out the notion of collective bargaining, though, which is a massive miss for the hypothetical. Both sides have agreed to bargain collectively and have the decisions made govern all owners and all players. That is not the case for the typical business - and it is something true for both sides, not only the owners as you suggest above.

I will guess no one here who has read anything about baseball history would try to argue the owners as a group, over the history of baseball, have been "good actors". But, at a tactical level, how bad the owners may or may not be as human beings is also pretty irrelevant. If I were advising the players I'd be focused on the discussion WBCD is trying to take the thread towards, because I don't think there's a path here which is "Congress steps in and forces the owners to do X because they're really bad people". And unless someone believes there is, the path forward is about understanding their respective interests, understanding their viable alternatives, and using those to shape some options each can agree to.

For me, and I may be in the distinct minority here, that requires us to really think about what's yessable for the owners and the players. For that analysis, the starting point matters (whether it is fair or not) as both a psychological and economic anchor. And so, again not making a value judgment just assessing the negotiation landscape, I do think each side has to be realistic about how far they can move from the current agreement, and also should be thinking about what has led to agreements in the nearest comparators out there, which are the other sports leagues. So, again for me, "cost certainty" is a very relevant notion even if it is not, in the abstract "fair" or what any of us might design if we were starting wtih a blank slate - the reality is these parties aren't starting wtih one either, nor does labor law suggest that is the proper way to assess a potential agreement.
Can you fill in some of these blanks here? I’m legitimately trying to understand where the players are being unreasonable and what they’re refusing to give up that they should consider giving up. What, specifically, would you advise the players to do?
 
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