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Progress being made in labor negotiations; deal could be done this week

Nov 9, 2011, 2:45 PM EDT

Selig and Weiner

Jayson Stark and others are hearing this afternoon that some serious progress has been made in labor negotiations over the new collective bargaining agreement. There’s a decent chance that a deal could be done this week, in fact, though Stark has other sources telling him that’s a 50/50 proposition.

Of course, my counterparts at ProBasketballTalk would probably kill for 50/50 all season, let alone this week, so let us not be pessimistic.

The holdup — which is no surprise if you’ve read our stuff on the CBA for the past couple of years — is the owners’ insistence on hard slotting for draft picks.  The progress seems to be coming in the from of some mechanism other than a hard draftee bonus cap that nonetheless depresses signing bonuses.

All of which seems strange to me as a sticking point. I mean, I know why the union is holding firm: it’s a principle thing on never allowing salary caps of any kind anywhere.  The owners, though? Draftee bonuses get tons of headlines but they represent such a small fraction of overall payroll. Like a really, really small amount. The top pick gets what a slightly above average veteran second baseman gets over a couple of years. Seems like a strange place to make a stand.

But it doesn’t sound like the hardest stand, and it seems like labor peace is close at hand.

  1. cintiphil - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    And, realign the Brewers to the AL.

  2. - Nov 9, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    The Royals have found a market inefficiency in drafting and signing players that fell to lower rounds of the draft because of their preceived contract demands.

    I know it’s counter intuitive, but I think hard slotting would hurt the Royals competitive chances more than help. Do not confuse that with David Glass’s ability to make money…which is probably why he’s pushing for it.

    • Ari Collins - Nov 9, 2011 at 10:52 PM

      That market inefficiency has been used for an awfully long time, but it’s strange what teams use it and what teams don’t. Along with draft spending in general, it seems to have very little to do with the payroll or competitiveness of the team. For instance, the Red Sox and Yankees do it a lot, while the Mets and Angels almost never do. The Royals and Pirates and Nationals have been doing it, but not the As or Rays or Marlins.

      Agreed though that, in general, hard slotting would hurt the rebuilding teams more.

      • - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        I know other teams do it. After all, if I figured it out surely people who get paid to do this stuff have figured it out.

        This was a huge change in organizational behavior to the better for Royals fans, and now it will most likely go away.

  3. sknut - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    This is good news. After labor Armageddon in Football and now Basketball its nice that MLB is taking care of its business.

  4. aaronmoreno - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Hard slotting means losing players to football and basketball.

    • Kyle - Nov 9, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      Amen. No hard slotting, plz.

  5. Joe - Nov 9, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Once again, the owners want to use the CBA to control their own behavior.

  6. Kevin S. - Nov 9, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Last year was a record for draft bonus… and the average team spent less than $8 million. What the deuce is the problem, again?

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