MLB lockout: US Secretary of Labor offers services to break stalemate

Marty Walsh MLB lockout
Marty Walsh
REUTERS/Gaelen Morse

Even the United States government is offering its services to help end the MLB lockout that has seen little progress made in the stalemate between the owners and players’ union. 

US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has reached out to Major League Baseball in hopes to get involved in negotiations between the two sides, according to Politico’s Jonathan Lemire on Monday. 

It appears as if a third party will be the only entity that can help move things along. The owners — who locked out the players and said that they would come back with a counteroffer for the union last week — instead offered to bring in a federal mediator to help urge talks along on Friday.

The frustrated players’ union obviously denied considering the neutral party likely would have used the previous CBA — which the players are trying to change — as a baseline for a new one. 

“We don’t think it speeds up the process at all,” MLBPA executive board member and free-agent reliever Andrew Miller told ESPN. “History tells us in our sport, it hasn’t been favorable to reaching a deal. … Our position is that it is quite the opposite from negotiating and being ready to negotiate.”

The owners’ latest move all but eliminated any hope of spring training starting on time, as it is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14. 

The players are looking for changes to major facets of the next CBA such as minimum salaries, salary arbitration eligibility, manipulation of service time, draft pick compensation, and the competitive balance tax threshold.

“We don’t need mediation,” Mets pitcher Max Scherzer tweeted. “Because what we are offering to MLB is fair for both sides.”

With an opportunity to regroup after their latest dud of a proposal, the owners will meet this week in Orlando for their annual meetings from Tuesday-Thursday. It is there that they’ll be able to decide the next steps of their negotiations — whether that means pursuing the help of Walsh or finally coming up with a counter-proposal to get the lines of communications open with the players once again. 

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