It flew under the radar, which is something owners should note, but MLB actually Make a suggestion to the MLBPA yesterday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Bassan and Jesse Rogers. This was their first negotiation on the core issues of this shutdown now six weeks later, showing you the urgency of the owners to end it. Anyway, the suggestion was just a joke, and there are many reasons for that.
First, the proposal did not touch on a luxury tax or raising the minimum wage and the like, which of course there would be no agreement without major changes in either. And what they did was very poor efforts to please the players.
There was a bit of an illusion about teams getting a bonus draft pick if they started the season with a probability in the top 150 predictors and that player finished in the top five for a grand prize like MVP or ROY. It is based on the opinions of the other people who make up the Top 150 Jobs List, and then the opinions of others to determine who will take fifth place in the Top Five Awards. Players who own their fortune, i.e. money, which is decided by the whims of the writers however they feel on that day is not exactly a well-founded system.
There has been more noise around the draft lottery, something players don’t (or shouldn’t) do as much as landlords do. Rarely is an MLB draft as transformative as an NBA or NFL draft. Even the best pick hasn’t been seen for two, three, or four years, and it’s hardly a guarantee of anything. The first or fifth wording hardly makes a difference. This is the red herring that players are better off ignoring. What they really need is to have more teams, or all the teams in the dream world, to not focus on the draft site at all. The idea is that 30 teams try to win. Tank teams to get prospects from other teams and more international signing money. They don’t really care whether putting their fans through six months of boredom made them the first or third choice.
There was also more nonsense about formulas for refereeing players than just paying what they could negotiate or paying someone to give them in arbitrator status.
Perhaps what fans will be most interested in is the proposal for 14 playoff teams. Players are very hesitant, but mostly because they know it’s the biggest matzo ball they have to shoot to their owners in order to get what they want in another area. Players know that the more teams there are in the playoffs, the more teams aim to win the middle and bottom seed rather than making all the efforts to win divisions and seeds that lead to lower salaries. But players may want everything they can get in exchange for the extended playoffs.
Make no mistake, expanding the playoffs will turn the regular season into a more meaningless trajectory than it already is. MLB will be surprised how many fans are suspended for a sport every single day, and every day that doesn’t really mean anything. You’ll drive home every day just how nothing really happens. Soccer can get away with it because it’s once a week. House ice is important in the NHL, but is the home field in baseball? Not real. The best seeded in the NBA is likely to dance through the arc. Baseball doesn’t have any of these bets. It will be a blank display.
As for the shutdown, the owners surely believe that players will collapse before they have to miss any regular season games, and that somehow they will go on to win the PR war. Both things are incorrect. The owners likely made a travesty of this suggestion in the hope that players would publicly mock it and then they could nail the whole thing to them. will not work. Players won’t miss any checks until April, and they seem pretty tight-lipped about getting back at least some of the things they’ve lost in the opponent’s previous analytics. But when TV deals and ticket sales start to be threatened, it’s the owners who start to sweat.
That’s the problem when you have 30 vampire squids who have been hunting for every dollar they can collect to keep them repaired. They will lose every dollar they don’t get.
This does not mean that players will “win” in this lockdown. This is not the point of closing. But they might not lose it that bad, and might even get a tie.