The players have still not forgotten about Major League Baseball’s slow offseason. The MLB Players Union reportedly turned down a proposal from the league that would have overhauled All-Star voting, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
That normally wouldn’t rate as news, but some feel the players rejecting the offer is yet another sign that a labor war is fast approaching.
What was the proposal?
Under MLB’s new system, nothing would change at first. Fans would vote for players like they do now. Once the game got closer, the league would make a top-3 at each position. Fans would then vote on those three players. The top vote-getter in each group would start the game.
After a while, the league agreed to also include $1.1 million in bonuses for the players that finished in the top-3 of the voting.
Why did they want to make changes?
According to Sherman, the idea was that players would be more involved in promoting the event. If there was a top-3 at each position, players might feel compelled to encourage fans to vote on social media.
How did the players respond?
The players told the league they would take the offer if the $1.1 million was included and if they received an equal share of revenue from the new process. The league declined, saying it was not going to seek a different sponsor for the voting, so there wouldn’t be a way to make money off the new voting process. The union held steady on those demands and the proposal eventually died.
Why did the players say no?
MLB’s proposal doesn’t sound all that drastic, and the players faced little downside by accepting. It’s assumed the reason they declined has to do with the contentious relationship between the players and the league. The slow offseason may have played a major role in that. Many players remained unsigned by the time spring training rolled around. There are still a number of veterans — like Matt Holliday — who are still available on the market.
What does that mean going forward?
The players are still upset about how the league and the owners are operating. It’s gotten to a point where they will reject any proposal from the league, even ones that don’t negatively impact them.
It’s also a sign that a strike is likely to happen when the current collective-bargaining agreement ends in 2021. The players have been hit hard by the current CBA, and will be looking for sweeping changes in 2021.
At best, all of this is setting up to make the 2021 CBA negotiations the most combative the game has seen in decades. At worst, it leads to a lengthy work stoppage that threatens the start of the 2022 season.
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