ESPN’s Jeff Passan is reporting that the two sides are meeting to discuss major issues for the first time since Dec. 2, when players were locked out by the owners. Since then there have been some low-level discussions to address areas where there doesn’t appear to be some huge differences. But the Thursday meeting, as called for by the owners, will feature a new proposal:
MLB had previously offered changes that included the removal of direct draft pick compensation on top free agents, a draft lottery, a universal designated hitter, a minimal raise of the CBT threshold and a higher minimum salary. The union, in its latest proposal, said it was open to expanded playoffs — with 12 teams, as opposed to the 14 the league is seeking — and allowing the league to put advertising patches on jerseys.
Should the meeting set the sides on a course toward a deal, it could salvage starting spring training on time, which sources on both sides in recent weeks have characterized as in peril. Pitchers and catchers are due to report to camps in Arizona and Florida by mid-February, with the first games scheduled for Feb. 26.
In the sport, the general feeling is that a deal needs to be reached by Feb. 1 for spring training to begin on time. There’s a lot of desire in front offices to reach such a deal: After two years where the sport was battered by COVID and the challenges facing the 2022 season because of COVID, the desire is for something approaching normalcy in the sport.
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