Will Braves season be delayed? Answer due

Will the Braves’ season open as scheduled on March 31?

The answer could come Monday as MLB has said a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement must be reached by the end of the day (or night) to preserve an on-time start of the season and a 162-game schedule.

If a deal isn’t reached Monday, MLB has vowed to begin canceling regular-season games because, the league contends, there no longer would be enough training time possible to have opening day as scheduled. (Of course, MLB could consider extending its deadline by hours or possibly even days if – big if – significant progress is being made toward a deal.)

Negotiations between representatives of the owners and the locked-out players reconvened at 10 a.m. Monday in Jupiter, Fla., with a wide gap still evident between the two sides’ positions.

Here’s a quick look at some of the major open issues reported entering the day:

- Luxury tax: Also known as the competitive balance tax, this is MLB’s mechanism for discouraging teams from spending beyond a certain level. In their latest known proposals, the owners are seeking to begin the financial and draft-pick penalties at a 2022 payroll of $214 million, while the players are seeking a $245 million threshold. There’s also disagreement between the two sides on what the penalties should be for exceeding those levels.

- Salary arbitration: The union wants to increase the number of players eligible. The owners do not. While all players with at least three years in the majors would remain arbitration-eligible until reaching free agency, the union’s latest proposal calls for expanding eligibility to 35% of players with between two and three years of service time, up from 22% of that group in the previous agreement. The owners haven’t been open to any increase. The two sides also remain far apart on the size of a new bonus pool that would be distributed among pre-arbitration players.

- Expanded playoffs: The owners favor increasing the playoffs from 10 teams to 14. The players prefer a 12-team postseason but might go to 14 as a tradeoff for other considerations in an overall deal.

- Revenue sharing: The players want to reduce the amount of local revenue that is shared among teams, while the owners want no change.

- Minimum salary: The owners have proposed raising it from $570,500 last season to $640,000 this year. The players have proposed an increase to $775,000.

For now, the defending World Series champion Braves are scheduled to open the regular season in Miami against the Marlins on March 31 and to play their home opener April 7 against Cincinnati before a sellout crowd at Truist Park. But the clock is ticking against such plans.

About the Author