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MLB lockout negotiations making progress as both sides accept concessions: Report

MLB lockout
Citi Field.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Negotiations over the ongoing MLB lockout are progressing on Tuesday, as both the teams owners and the Players Association are making compromises, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. 

The news comes after the MLB threatened to cancel a second week of regular-season games if a new collective bargaining agreement failed to be reached by Tuesday night, coming after the league’s self-imposed March 1 deadline led to the cancelation of the season’s first week.

If yet another slate of games is canceled, that would add a new wrinkle to the negotiations, and make a return of those games a new sticking point for the players — making a deal even less likely. 

But a new round of talks on Tuesday have reportedly been somewhat-fruitful, though Nightengale noted that “It’s a similar sentiment of a week ago,” so fans would be wise not to hold their breath. 

The prolonged lockout is nearing its 100th day, and the two sides have been deadlocked in recent weeks — with significant ground between the two parties on major issues like the competitive balance tax (CBT), the minimum player salaries, and the pre-arbitration bonus pool. 

The CBT issue remains the most pressing topic, as it provides franchises with an unofficial salary cap by limiting the amount of penalty-free salary spending — and therefore a higher cap would give more room for owners to spend higher dollar figures on players’ contracts. 

The MLB had made some concessions this week, offering to raise the threshold of the CBT this year from $220 million to $228 million — though that is still nearly $10 million less than the union’s demands, which have already been lowered throughout the negotiations. 

Both sides agree that the CBT would increase on a yearly basis, but neither side has thus far agreed on how much that increase would be. 

The players, noting skyrocketing revenue from TV deals and ticket prices, argue that owners are artificially limiting their spending at too-low a dollar amount. 

Franchises, meanwhile, are not just looking to save money. 

As amNY reported on Monday, many small-market teams are worried that an increase in penalty-free spending would lead big-market owners, such as billionaire Steve Cohen of the New York Mets, to bury less-wealthy franchises with huge payrolls and the top-dollar players. 

Meanwhile, fans of the MLB have largely blamed the owners for the lockout, according to a Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday — as 45% of respondents attributed the stalemate to the owners, compared to just 21% blaming the players, with 34% having no opinion. 

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