IRVING, Texas — Major League Baseball is likely headed to its first lockout since 1995 after Wednesday negotiations with the union abruptly ended hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. ET.
MLB is expected to implement a lockout Thursday with no further meetings scheduled.
“The lockout," said New York Mets starter Max Scherzer, who’s on the union’s executive committee, “seems like a very likely scenario.’’
The two sides met for 50 minutes Wednesday morning with deputy commissioner Dan Halem, general counsel Patrick Houlihan and Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort representing MLB. Chief union negotiator Bruce Meyer, general counsel Ian Penny, and players Andrew Miller and Zack Britton represented the union.
They met again later in the day for seven minutes before MLB officials abruptly left the Four Seasons, telling the union that the negotiations are over.
MLB owners scheduled a meeting Wednesday afternoon to likely vote on a lockout, which would freeze all baseball activity until a new CBA is reached.
There are no further negotiations scheduled between the two sides although it’s expected that they could reconvene as early as next week in New York.
MLB never made a proposal during the three-day negotiations in Dallas on the CBT, revenue sharing service time manipulation, salary arbitration eligibility or the reserve system, according to several familiar with the union.
The persons spoke to USA TODAY Sports the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing nature of negotiations.
The union made a proposal on Tuesday, but according to persons familiar with the exchange, MLB refused to make a counter-offer unless it agreed to a binding offer to drop their proposals for free agency, revenue sharing, and service time manipulation.
MLB disagreed with the characterizations, saying they were actively attempting to make a deal.
The two sides, who have each accused the other of stall tactics in their negotiations, never did come close to resolving the gulf in major economic issues or solving their differences in compelling teams to compete without tanking for higher draft picks.
“When you look at the 2016 CBA agreement, and how that has worked the last five years,’’ Scherzer said, “for players, we see a major problem in there. We see a competition problem in how teams are behaving. For players, it’s critical to have a highly competitive league. …
“We’re trying to make the game better, more competitive. We’re absolutely committed to doing that. It’s just not me, it’s everybody. It’s obvious to all of the players.’’
In the union’s latest proposal, it is seeking the luxury tax raised from $210 million to $245 million for teams with no difference in penalties for the teams exceeding the threshold.
MLB, which originally was seeking a $180 million luxury tax to go with a $100 million floor, have proposed raising the threshold to $214 million in 2022 and increasing to $220 million in the final year of the five-year agreement.
The union, which had previously opposed expanded playoffs to 14 teams, proposed a 12-team format with realignment of the leagues: two eight-team divisions and two seven-team divisions.
MLB proposed free agency to begin at the age of 29 ½ instead of needing six years of major-league service. The union offered that players would be eligible for free agency after six years of service or beginning in 2024, at the age of 29 ½ with five years of service, whichever comes first.
MLB offered an NBA-style lottery system for the draft in which the three teams that finish with the worst records would not necessarily have a top-3 pick, and that no team could receive a top-five pick in three consecutive years.
MLB wanted to eliminate the current arbitration system and awarding salaries based on WAR (wins above replacement), which the union strongly opposed, and is now off the table.
The union introduced increased service time with awards and performance bonuses as a way to help eliminate service-time manipulation.
MLB has agreed to eliminate qualifying offers and draft-pick penalties attached to free agents, but the union has objected to the increase of tax penalties for exceeding the threshold.
MLB did not make any proposals involving on-the-field changes, but the two sides are expected to eventually agree on a universal DH along with a commercialized uniform patch, creating additional revenue.
There will be no longer be formal deadline, but Feb. 1 is the likely soft deadline, the two sides say, with spring training starting in mid-February.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB lockout: No more negotiations scheduled before CBA expiration