United in negotiations, MLB players divided on deal | Professional national sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players maintained their unity throughout labor negotiations, but were split when it came to voting on the deal.

The eight-man executive subcommittee who appeared to be most involved in the nearly year-long talks voted 8-0 on Thursday against approving the five-year contract. The team’s player representatives, the global group overseeing the negotiations, voted 26-4 in favor, leaving the overall ballot at 26-12 for ratification.

“You call it division, I call it healthy dialogue and conversation,” union leader Tony Clark said on Friday. “From our perspective, the process worked. Each group and each team, each player, had the opportunity to engage their team and cast their particular vote in the context of the other 25 members or 39 members, I guess I should say, of their club.

MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem and Clark on Thursday signed a 182-page memorandum of understanding incorporating 26 tentative agreements requiring revisions to the basic agreement and Major League rules.

Training camps are opening ahead of a season that kicks off a week late on April 7, but still maintaining a 162-game schedule.

The players on the exco, as it’s called, are mostly veterans at the top of the pay scale: Mets pitcher Max Scherzer ($43.3 million this season), Yankees pitchers Gerrit Cole ($36 million) and Zack Britton ($14 million). ), Texas infielder Marcus Semien ($25 million), Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor ($32 million), Houston wide receiver Jason Castro ($3.5 million) and free agent pitcher Andrew Miller ($12 million last year).

Britton, Cole, Paxton, Scherzer and Semien are represented by agent Scott Boras, the sport’s most influential agent.

Of the 1,670 players who have made a major league roster this year, 1,145 have earned under $1 million, including 771 under $500,000 and 241 under $100,000.

These grassroots voices were heard in the vote of the largest group of 38.

“The individual members of the subcommittee who were invested in from start to finish, who were pushing to achieve the gains that we all wanted to achieve, they offered their votes within the context of this democratic system,” Clark said.

The committee differs demographically from the larger group of players, with seven of the eight born in the 50s and Lindor from Puerto Rico. None were born in Latin American countries and none in Asia.

“Beyond the subcommittee and beyond the player representatives, there are discussions with players who have issues or concerns that affect them directly. Those conversations happened and those player reps and those sub-executive committee members listened as part of those conversations,” Clark said. “Suffice it to say, we had more meetings than expected. There was a lot of participation and a lot of discussion. Every player, no matter where they come from, their concerns have been heard and will continue to be heard.”

The deal raises the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $230 million this year and $244 million in 2026. The minimum wage rises from $570,500 to $700,000 this year, with annual raises of $20,000, and a $50 million bonus pool is established for pre-arbitration. players.

Teams will be placed in a lottery for the top six picks in the amateur draft, and the top two players in the Rookie of the Year vote will be credited with a year of major league service, even if in the majors for only part of that season.

MLB won a playoff extension from 10 teams to 12 and the right to sell ads on uniforms and helmets.

“It’s been a long, hard fight against a powerful opponent determined to maintain the status quo or make it worse for the players,” said union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer, accusing MLB of using “all tactics of pressure of the book”.

“The players have made significant gains in this agreement. As with any deal, there were tradeoffs, and we always knew change would be incremental over time,” he said. “It sets up well to build on and continue to make gains in the future.”

Clark said it was too early to determine if the deal was a success for the union.

“We’re going to have to see how the next five years play out,” he said. “The metrics we used to analyze the system leading up to this negotiation suggested to us the changes that needed to be made and the issues that needed to be resolved. And we sought to resolve them and brought them to the table. Therefore, we’ll figure out here how the system responds to what we think the fixes needed to be and address them accordingly at the end of the five-year term.”

Players lobbied for the draft lottery as a method to increase competition.

“It’s all a process over time,” Meyer said. “Obviously we wanted more dramatic changes to address those issues. The league stood up to us on that. And we don’t expect that issue to be completely eliminated, but we hope it will be significantly better than it is. is now.

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