JUPITER, Florida (WCMH/AP) — The Major League Baseball season will most likely not start March 31 after the MLB Players Association agreed unanimously to reject the league’s ‘best and final’ offer on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the news. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman has also confirmed no deal will be reached before the deadline.
The deadline to reach a collective bargaining agreement and avoid canceling games was 5:00 EST.
After making progress Monday, the sides exchanged new offers Tuesday but remained far apart, most notably on the subject of the luxury tax threshold.
— MLB proposed raising the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $220 million in each of the next three seasons, $224 million in 2025 and $230 in 2026 — unchanged from its prior offer. Players asked for $238 million this year, $244 million in 2023, $250 million in 2024, $256 million in 2025 and $263 in 2026.
— MLB increased its offer for a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players from $25 million to $30 million, and the union dropped from $115 million to $85 million for this year, with $5 million yearly increases.
— MLB proposed raising the minimum salary from $570,500 to $700,000 this year, up from its previous offer of $675,000, and included increases of $10,000 annually. The union asked for $725,000 this year, $745,000 in 2023, $765,000 in 2024 and increases for 2025 and 2026 based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners.
— MLB offered to have the five top picks in the amateur draft determined by a lottery.
— MLB would expand the postseason to 12 teams, the figure the union prefers to management’s original request for 14.
The sides agreed Monday, subject to an overall deal, to expand the postseason from 10 to 12 teams, rather than the 14 MLB had hoped for.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday was the last possible day to reach an agreement that would allow the minimum time needed for spring training in order to play openers as scheduled on March 31.
The union said it didn’t necessarily agree to the timeframe.
Players would lose $20.5 million in salary for each day of the season that is canceled, according to a study by The Associated Press, and the 30 teams would lose large sums that are harder to pin down.
Spring training games were to have begun Saturday, but baseball’s ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995 — already has led to exhibitions being canceled through March 7.