A flicker of hope for progress in the Major League Baseball lockout emerged Tuesday morning.
Major League Baseball will present a new proposal on core economic issues in a video-conference meeting Thursday with the Players Association, according to sources.
The news is not what’s in the proposal and how it will be received but that the sides are meeting to discuss the issues at all.
Since a seven-minute meeting Dec. 1 in Irving, Texas, the sides have not held a single discussion on forging a new collective bargaining agreement.
The players are seeking the changes in the core economic issues. They want younger players compensated earlier in their careers, which means changes in service time regarding arbitration and free agency; they want the payroll luxury-tax thresholds raised; and they want more competitive integrity, which means changes to the draft system and less revenue sharing.
Besides expanded playoffs, the owners are not seeking major changes.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the lockout of players shortly after the expiration of the last CBA at midnight Dec. 1. The lockout, said Manfred, was intended in part to spur urgency in negotiations to avoid missing any games.
Spring training is scheduled to start Feb. 16 in Florida and Arizona, and opening day is set for March 31.
With the need for at least three weeks of spring training and time for players to arrive and go through COVID protocols, an agreement by about March 5 is needed for an on-time start to the season.
The lockout ended a 26-year span of no work stoppages in baseball.
Assuming the meeting takes place Thursday, the sides will end a 42-day span of no talks on key substantive issues.
After the lockout began, the players said they had been told that owners would not accept any reductions to service time or revenue-sharing changes. If the players dropped those requests, MLB would make new proposals on economics, but those proposals would be binding. The players did not concur, and talks ended.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Michael Silverman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.