Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that for the first time since 1994-1995, regular season games will be cancelled due to a labour dispute.
MLB and the MLBPA were unable to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement after nine consecutive days of negotiations that culminated in a marathon 16-hour bargaining session. How will this affect bets on your favourite online gambling sites? Let’s take a look…
In a press conference delivered shortly after 5pm EST on Monday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the league officially cancelled the first two series of the regular season, amounting to the elimination of 91 games. Manfred praised both sides for the effort they put into getting a deal done, and cited the calendar and the logistics surrounding interleague play as reasons for cancellation of the games rather than postponement or rescheduling. Manfred further stated that players would not be compensated for the cancelled games.
Commissioner Manfred discussed details on the league’s final proposal, stating it was designed to address a variety of concerns from players. It included increases to minimum salaries, the creation of a bonus pool to reward top performing players in their pre-arbitration seasons, an expanded playoff format, and increases to the collective bargaining tax threshold. It also included items introduced late in the negotiations including a draft for international players and the ability for MLB to unilaterally implement on-field rule changes with a 45 day waiting period rather than the current one-year period.
Manfred addressed a question about the perception of MLB having won the previous CBA negotiation in 2016 by stating “you need to remember that the last five years have been very difficult years from a revenue perspective” in spite of league revenue achieving record highs during four of those five years and only dipping in 2020 due to the season being cut short by COVID-19. He also pointed to the competitive balance tax as “the only mechanism in the agreement that’s designed to promote some semblance of competitive balance”, when in fact the league utilizes a robust revenue sharing system that frequently distributes amounts to smaller market teams beyond what some of them spend on their entire payrolls.
Representatives from the MLBPA responded with a press conference attended by Executive Director Tony Clark as well as lead negotiator Bruce Meyer and player representatives Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller. Clark gave a brief statement expressing the union’s desire to play and their willingness to negotiate before opening the floor for questions. Topics covered were the unity among union members and the motivations behind their positions, specifically the union’s desire to allocate a larger portion of league revenue to young players.
The Competitive Balance Tax is one of the more contentious issues, and the final offer made by MLB left the terms unchanged from their previous proposal. Scherzer said that the CBT was originally intended as a mechanism to curtail breakaway spending, but in recent years has functioned in the same fashion as the type of hard salary cap that the players went on strike to avoid in 1994.
Scherzer pointed to the fact that the small market San Diego Padres payroll was nearly identical to the traditionally top-spending New York Yankees in 2021 as evidence that not only are big market teams viewing the tax as a salary cap, but that small market teams are financially capable of spending up to and beyond the proposed tax level should they choose to do so.
With large gaps on a variety of key issues and no new meetings scheduled, it is hard to predict when baseball might be able to get back on the field. Previous statements from the MLBPA regarding their unwillingness to commit to an expanded playoff format in the event regular season games were cancelled as well as statements during their recent press conference expressing a desire for players to be compensated for canceled games could add additional hurdles to an already-difficult negotiation. In the meantime, why not check out our betting guide to familiarise yourself with tried and tested betting strategies before placing a bet on your favourite team?
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