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Everything you wanted to know about baseball’s upcoming labor negotiations

Mar 7, 2011, 10:36 AM EDT

Selig and Weiner

The Yankee Analysts has a post up that clearly and simply sets forth the major issues of contention for the upcoming labor negotiations between the players and the owners.

I like this version because it separates the demands of the players and the demands of the owners rather than simply setting forth “issues” in a general sense.  To truly understand the dynamics of the negotiations you need to know what each side wants, and this article does a great job of it.

It also helps you realize why no one is really freaking out about the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Because for the most part, the players and owners want things that aren’t diametrically opposed to what the other wants. There will be some contention here, of course, but this negotiation is going to be more about horse trading than it is about fighting.

The only one that I still think may be stickier than some realize is the stuff about hard slotting for draft pick bonuses. I’ve touched on this before, but I still find it significant that Michael Weiner referred to the idea of hard slotting as “a salary cap” in his introductory press conference in December 2009.  The term “salary cap” is a rallying cry for the union. It always has been. The owners know this, and they have publicly abandoned any effort to impose one because they know the union will gladly strike over it and will likely win.

Maybe it’s different for the draft — players have often thrown draftees and minor leaguers under the bus when it comes to work rules — but I don’t think enough people have taken notice of Weiner’s use of that term. For that reason, I think they people are underselling  just how hard the union might fight the imposition of hard slotting for the draft. It may happen, but it will come at a higher price than the owners suspect, I think.

All of that said, compared to what’s going on in the other sports these days, I think baseball’s negotiations are going to go pretty smoothly.

  1. sknut - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Either a slotting system must be in place or MLB must stop telling teams how much to spend. If you are a bad team and ahve a low payroll there is no reason not to spend over slot to acquire top end talent, that money isn’t being spent on the big club and you can show the big market teams that you are serious about winning and thus revenue sharing is working.

  2. The Baseball Idiot - Mar 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    The owners will push the slotting system hard. The union will fight back hard. The union will threaten to strike, and the owners will drop it in return for something else they want, but haven’t asked for yet.

    Maybe the abolition of the designated hitter? I can only hope.

  3. Dan in Katonah - Mar 7, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    I wonder how a true hard slotting system would affect major league salaries off into the future. I suspect that artificial ceilings would create lower starting points for future arbitration and free agent numbers, but not necessarily. For the owners, any way to keep money in their own pockets is a win.

    In the union setting it is easy for the existing bargaining unit to sacrifice the interests of new or yet-to-be members for the interests of those already present. It is short-sided from the economic standpoint of the workers as a whole, but people on the bargaining committee don’t always think beyond their own pocketbooks or those of their vocal constituents. I don’t think getting rid of the DH will sit well with this group, so you can forget that.

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