JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Locked-out players and management officials were bargaining for the seventh straight day Sunday, just one day before Major League Baseball’s deadline to salvage March 31 openers and a 162-game schedule.
Negotiators narrowed some differences Friday and Saturday. But entering the 88th day of the work stoppage they were still far apart on big issues that include luxury tax thresholds and rates, the size of the new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players and minimum salaries.
A smaller group of players that included Max Scherzer, Andrew Miller and Marcus Semien walked into Roger Dean Stadium shortly before 1 p.m. along with union head Tony Clark, chief negotiator Bruce Meyer and staff.
A few minutes later, Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem walked from the offices in the main part of the ballpark to the area where players caucus in the building of the Cardinals clubouse. Halem headed back to the MLB area about 20 minutes later.
Baseball’s ninth work stoppage started Dec. 2. Spring training games were to have begun Saturday and have been canceled through March 7.
MLB says that if there is not a deal by the end of Monday, there will not be enough training time to start the season as scheduled.
MLB has offered to raise the luxury tax threshold from $210 million last season to $214 million this year, increasing to $220 million by 2026. Teams also want higher tax rates, which the union says tend to act like a salary cap.
Players have asked for a $245 million threshold this year, rising to $273 million by the final season.
The union wants to expand the players with at least two seasons of major league service and less than three to the top 35%, up from the 22% cutoff in place since 2013.
The union wants the pre-arbitration pool to have $115 million distributed to 150 players and management proposed $20 million be split among 30.