MLB and the MLBPA have been in talks about the universal DH and an expanded playoffs for 2021. It was reported earlier today, however, that the union has rejected the initial proposal by MLB.
MLB memo says union rejects deal for DH and expanded playoffs— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 25, 2021
MLB offered the universal DH plus “extra money” and an expanded playoffs. The Union turned it down. That “extra money” was, in reality, a promise to return to 2019 levels of distribution. The union is hesistant to once again agree to an expanded postseason as the belief is that it dilutes the competitive integrity of the game. If more teams qualify for the playoffs, the cost of a marginal win becomes diminished, and the union believes this will lead to more difficulties when it comes to players finding contracts and being properly compensated in free agency.
The union's perspective has been the universal DH should not be tied to expanded playoffs. The MLB proposal included the universal DH and the expanded playoffs; the union turned it down.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 25, 2021
Universal DH is not the great barganing chip that the owners seem to think it is. It’s not an extra roster spot, it’s not a big-money job for most teams. Expanded playoffs are a much bigger get for the owners.— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) January 25, 2021
2. Playoff revenue is not split between players and owners. Owners receive playoff TV money. Currently players receive share of gate receipts in postseason. One of reasons owners see expanded playoffs as a big revenue generator.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) January 25, 2021
At this point, there is no word as to whether talks are ongoing or not, but reports suggest tensions are high. The two sides have less than a month before Spring Training begins to get something done unless the season is otherwise delayed. Ken Rosenthal from The Athletic wrote of the tensions between the two sides:
League officials...are frustrated by what they perceive to be the union’s refusal to negotiate, and point to a separate discussion involving the designated hitter, expanded postseason and other matters as the latest example, in their view, of the union’s intransigence.
The animosity between the two sides is obvious. What it means for the universal DH, expanded playoffs, delaying the season, etc... is up in the air. What the tensions mean as the current collective bargaining agreement expires following the 2021 season is anyone’s guess too. At this point, things don’t look that promising.
We better have a semi-normal 2021 season because as soon as the CBA is up in December, it’s going to be a very unenjoyable time in Major League Baseball.— Chelsea Ladd (@chelseabrooke) January 25, 2021