MLB, With Tensions High, Has Already Fired Its First Salvo At The Players

MLB: Money for everyone. (

Even with the season still ongoing, MLB has fired the first salvo, and it’s not over the players’ bow, adding to the chance of a strike.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has chosen to begin public negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) in the middle of the baseball season and well before the current agreement expires in December.

MLBPA and MLB Tangling Again 2021
MLBPA and MLB Tangling Again 2021

For those hoping to see an amicable and quick series of negotiating between the parties, MLB has thrown a wrench into the process by striking at a core “got to have it” portion of the new agreement, and it provides a preview of a potential lockout by the owners come April.

Now, mind you, I don’t enjoy writing about these things, especially when they come during a dramatic and probable finish to the season in both leagues.

But as a fan, I want my baseball in 2022, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why a group of adults can’t agree on deciding how to divide a $10 Billion pot to the satisfaction of both MLB and the players.

Be that as it may, here’s what MLB has proposed:

As reported by multiple sources, including The Athletic, the plan included a new tax on team spending, which would effectively lower the first luxury-tax threshold in the sport to $180 million, a drop of $30 million from this year.

There would be a charge teams who exceed that first mark a higher percentage than they pay today. People briefed on the league’s proposal said one trade-off would be a salary minimum of $100 million in the sport.

MLB: Why Even Bother – It’s DOA

As its strategy displays, MLB is pitting the player’s greed in latching onto that last sentence that guarantees a minimum payroll for all teams, a thorn in the side of the MLBPA who keeps asking what these teams do with the luxury-tax monies paid to low-payroll teams – if it’s not going to the players?

But it goes deeper. Here’s a look at all of the teams who would be forced to raise their payroll from its 2021 level.

Team 2021 Payrolls - Source:
Team 2021 Payrolls – Source:

More accurately, I believe, Per Cot’s Contracts, seven teams began 2021 with payrolls projected to be under $100 million, as calculated for luxury tax purposes. Either way, take your pick – some teams have some ground to make up.

MLB Proposal: DOA – Buy Why?

Are we to believe the suits at MLB dreamed this up, thinking these teams would eagerly jump at the chance to increase their 2022 team payroll to $100 million?

Not likely, so what is MLB up to?

Even while team owners continue to grant counterproductive long-term contracts (think the Mets and Francisco Lindor, and the Yankees always injured Aaron Hicks, MLB has a motive designed to confront the MLBPA directly and with no hesitation.

Josh Donaldson Sounds Off
Josh Donaldson Sounds Off

Remember, MLB has been hammered this year by players and fans alike for its handling of the so-called “Sticky Thing” scandal.

Late to the party as it was during the Steroid Era, MLB came across as indecisive and lame when new parameters were finally laid forth, and all of a sudden, it was player vs. player (Josh Donaldson and Gerrit Cole) confrontations that hardly did the game MLB is supposed to be promoting any good.

MLB: The One Thing They Know That Works

MLB knows one thing, they use it whenever they can, and it will be the focus of their very public negotiations with the players.


Initially, I was led to believe MLB dumped this on the players publicly. That is not true, as the proposal was made face to face with reps present on both sides. Still, that does not negate anything that follows.

MLB knows that, by and large, fans are jealous and, in many cases, resentful of the salaries major league ballplayers are commanding.

So, anything MLB can do to strike discord between the haves and the have-nots among players becomes a winning strategy when it reaches the public arena.

A word to the Player’s Association is to say – shut up! Do not respond to anything MLB says publicly, insisting that you (MLB) meet MLB at the negotiating table, the proper forum for where these discussions are intended.

Easier said than done, though, and fans will recall last year when MLB put forth a series of “proposals” that would get the COVID delayed season underway – all of which MLB would never accept – making the players the force of evil in the eyes of fans who wanted their baseball.

In the end, of course, MLB leveled the boom, saying this is it. A 60-game season, read it and weep or go home; we don’t care.

MLBPA To MLB: Sit Down, Then We’ll Talk

In this American culture, any group of employees, who believe they can have the edge over an employer, needs to take a serious time-out to re-think and face reality.

MLB: This is the place to get it done - if you meant to...
MLB: This is the place to get it done – if you meant to…

While the players can never hope to sway a majority of fans to their side while most earn more in a year than most of us make in a lifetime, their battle is best displayed on the field, not on, Twitter, or endless press releases from the offices of the MLBPA.

Sometimes, the best offense is a good defense that quietly swallows up a team that is just on the verge of making the “Big Play.” So too it is with the players – take it to the table and, if necessary, to arbitration.

Meanwhile, this is meant as an informative piece for fans to keep in their back pocket as the regular season winds down and we reach toward the MLB Playoffs – a showcase that even MLB can’s mar.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Deborah Crane I am all for unions, they have their merits for workers but when the kettle is in the billions, it becomes obscene and trickles down to the cost to the fan. The big boys in cities like NY/LA have the resources to have those quarter of a billion dollars in payrolls(Dodgers/Yanks/Mets are top 3) but the cost for 4 people to go to the game is about $225 bucks, and that isn’t a luxury seat. Parking is $25 at Citifield but also has great mass transit. Most fans depend on broadcast to watch a game and with sports fees added to your bill + the cost of cable – access on local channels (ahhh those days when WOR was our channel) that is adding up to, cord-cutters notwithstanding. My MLB single-team cost for Mets baseball was $119 and 18 games were blocked out because I live in GA!

This contract is up frightens me because the redistribution of wealth or minimum payroll edict does not bode well. I spent 14 years working in pro sports from MLB/NBA/NFL. It cost me my job in ‘94! None of this benefits the fans.

Bob Giacalone

Deborah Crane You are so right. Going to a game has become a financial assault for a family. But let’s be honest–the fans continue to pay out the dollars. They continue to buy the tickets, pay for the parking and the overpriced (bad) food. If the fans simply boycotted the stands, this would have to stop. And I’m not so sure that if the player salaries were driven lower that the owners would reduce the ticket/parking/food prices. I doubt they would. Great exchange. Thank you.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.