Major League Baseball and the lock-out players negotiate into the night ahead of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Tuesday deadline for reaching a deal to preserve a 162-game season.
Bruce Meyer, Union chief negotiator, and Ian Penny, general counsel, headed a bargaining group that met every morning at the MLB’s office just across the street from Radio City Music Hall.
Three hours later, Deputy commissioner Dan Halem and Executive Vice President Morgan Sword made the three-block trek to visit the union’s Rockefeller Center office. Senior Vice President Pat Houlihan was there for 20 minutes.
Both sides continued to speak later that day via telephone. The back and forth continued for several hours, as expected, by 8:30 p.m.
On the 97th day of baseball’s second-longest work stoppage, the sides appeared to be trading numbers on the key economic issues of the luxury tax, the amount of a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration-eligible players and minimum salaries.
It was unclear whether the more intense phase of negotiations would lead to an agreement, or another break in the already strained talks that have been going on for almost a year.
The 16 1/2 hour of negotiations in Jupiter, Florida that began February 28 led to progress, but ended in an angry breakdown in talks on the next day when Manfred announced that the first two series for each side had been cancelled.
MLB informed the union that there is no possibility that opening day will be held as planned March 31.
A person familiar with the proposal confirmed that MLB offered Tuesday a tax threshold of $230 million starting at $242 million rising to $242 million. This was a move first reported in The Athletic. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no public statements were permitted. He said that management’s proposal included harsher penalties and a higher payroll than the existing agreement.
The union started the week at $238million for this year and will rise to $263 million by 2026.
Monday was Monday when the union asked for a $80 million bonus pool. MLB was at $30 millions. The union requested $725,000 and MLB offered a minimum salary of $700,000.
The differences were even greater in the last four seasons of the five-year agreement. At the beginning of the week, the union had proposed a figure of $263 million for 2026.