Major League Baseball is reportedly expected to make a core-economics proposal to the MLB Players Association on Thursday, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The planned meeting between the two parties will mark the first bargaining session to take place since the league locked out its players at the start of December.
Though the resumption of discussions between the league and players association signals a first step towards striking a deal, it remains to be seen whether MLB’s proposal is a starting point for further negotiations or a proposal players may be willing to agree to.
Taking into account historical precedent, and the lack of urgency to get a deal done with several weeks to go before spring training is slated to begin on Feb. 16, it’s unlikely the league tables its final, best offer during Thursday’s meeting.
Still, some kind of proposal being made is a tangible improvement over total silence as the parties attempt to wade through several divisive issues.
When the league locked out its players on Dec. 2, the ninth work stoppage in its history but the first since the 1994 strike, it came amid a frenetic off-season that saw several high-price contracts handed out by clubs.
The flurry of activity was interpreted in two main ways at the time, as a sign that owners and players envisioned an eventual return rooted in a similar CBA, or as a rush to lock deals in place before an uncertain world of change arrives.
Manfred, in a letter at the time, pointed to the “$1.7 billion committed to free agents, smashing the prior record by nearly 4x” as proof the system isn’t as broken as players claim and blamed the union for coming “to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise.”
In a brief statement, Tony Clark, the union’s executive director, called the lockout a “drastic and unnecessary measure” that “will not affect the Players’ resolve to reach a fair contract. We remain committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that enhances competition, improves the product for our fans, and advances the rights and benefits of our membership.”