How to settle the MLB lockout and write a new Basic Agreement

Dec 2, 2021; Chicago, IL, USA; A woman walks by locked Wrigley Field on the first day of Major League Baseball lockout. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2021; Chicago, IL, USA; A woman walks by locked Wrigley Field on the first day of Major League Baseball lockout. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The point, of course, is to get ballpark gates open on time and get fans back in seats. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The point, of course, is to get ballpark gates open on time and get fans back in seats. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Summary

The key to ending the lockout and implementing an agreement is a “third way” breakthrough negotiating strategy that finds a path somewhere between the existing players’ and owners’ positions.

The extension of minimum salaries and service time to players on the 40-man provides such a ‘third way’ breakthrough. At a reasonable cost, probably $10 to $15 million per team, it goes a long way to ameliorating the Association’s concerns about salaries for younger players.

It also has the byproduct of raising low-end tea payrolls significantly, thus alleviating any discussion of the need for a silly and superficial salary floor.

That plus the elimination of draft compensation would be important concessions by the owners. It would also make it easier for the Association to yield on retention — perhaps with minor modifications — of the current free agency and arbitration structures.

In combination with implementation of the anti-taking lottery and an increased minimum salary, the core issue of pay for young players ought to be resolved.

Most of the other issues — the DH, other rules changes, ads on uniforms — can be easily worked out. Then all we’re really talking about is the length of the new agreement.

Next. The 20 wackiest trade deadline stories in history. dark

It ought to be in force for a minimum of five seasons. Nobody looks forward to going through this process again any time soon.