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With No Deadline Deal, M.L.B.’s Lockout Begins


Players have wanted a series of improvements, some of which have been rejected by M.L.B.: getting young players (who are cheaper and have been relied upon more) compensated sooner in their careers, allowing players to reach salary arbitration and free agency sooner, raising luxury tax thresholds (from $210 million now to $245 million), reducing revenue sharing among teams and ways that could curb service time manipulation, and forcing teams to be more competitive through a handful of measures, including changes to the amateur draft.

Owners, on the other hand, believe M.L.B. players have the best deal in professional sports and viewed the union’s proposals as substantial modifications to longstanding aspects of the economic model. M.L.B. has also said it wants to improve the competitive balance among teams but has proposed different ways to accomplish that than the union.

Among its proposals, some of which have been rejected by the union: an N.B.A.-style lottery format for the first three picks in the draft that could help prevent so-called tanking, a club payroll floor ($100 million) along with a lower luxury tax threshold ($180 million) — or more modest luxury tax threshold increases (starting with $214 million) without a floor but with steeper rates for going over, overhauling the salary arbitration system, smaller increases to league minimum salaries, making free agency based on age and expanding the playoffs (from 10 to 14 teams), which would net more revenue.

In recent proposals, M.L.B. has shown a willingness to get rid of the qualifying offer system, which attaches draft picks to certain free-agent players, while the players offered a 12-team expanded postseason.

On Wednesday afternoon at the players’ hotel, Andrew Miller, a top union representative who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals this year, and Meyer walked off with Dick Monfort, the Colorado Rockies’ owner and the chair of the league’s labor committee; Dan Halem, M.L.B.’s lead negotiator; and Patrick Houlihan, M.L.B. deputy general counsel. Seven minutes later, the M.L.B. officials returned, gathered their belongings and left.

The players were then told that no more meetings with M.L.B. were planned for the rest of the day. Around nine hours later, M.L.B. implemented the lockout.


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