MLB labor talks take sour turn after owners dismiss players’ counteroffer

JUPITER, Fla. — One step forward, 10 steps back.

The mild optimism of Friday devolved into fury Saturday on Day 6 of Major League Baseball’s Jupiter Summit, as the players made a counteroffer that represented significant concessions, only for the owners to largely scoff at it. The players found themselves so outraged by that reaction, according to an industry source, that they would not commit to a seventh straight day of collective bargaining Sunday here at the unsubtly named Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

According to the source, the players dramatically dropped their demands on arbitration, asking for 35 percent of the class with 2-to-3 years of service to enter that protocol rather than the previous offer of 75 percent. The owners, who have been steadfast that they can’t move off the current 22 percent, stood by that steadfastness.

And on revenue sharing, the players withdrew their submission to cut the program by $30 million, instead asking for a methodology that would reward small-market teams that grow their local revenues while minimally hurting other clubs.

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
Getty Images; AP

Meanwhile, after the players thought on Friday that they were close to an agreement on a draft lottery that would curb tanking, the clubs countered that they wanted to tie that to a 14-team postseason. The players have stuck to a 12-team postseason.

There also was minimal movement on the competitive-balance tax. The players offered to cut their threshold figures by $2 million in 2023, 2024 and 2025. The teams countered by raising their 2023 threshold by $1 million and slightly dropping the tax rates.

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The owners did move on the service-time manipulation issue, offering that the top two finishers in Rookie of the Year voting be ensured a full season of service.

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