Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark and Commissioner Rob Manfred sat down with Maria Bartiromo for a candid conversation about last week’s discussion about the possibility of a union lockout that threatens to disrupt play.
The impasse centers on a reluctance on the part of the owners to deal with the cost of arbitration: covering the cost of arbitration would require the owners to ease any cost cuts or new revenue sharing ideas, which in turn would limit the size of a potential deal that would address the owners’ concerns.
The point of contention is over an issue that is important to players, Clark said. “We feel like we have the situation covered,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy for us to accept because we want to see players succeed. But the owners have to start to take real responsibility for their performance.”
Clark said that he expected the league to take a number of very reasonable measures to improve labor relations, and that such measures would be welcomed by the players. “The owners have things they’re thinking about and they’re working on — in fact, we told them so — and they’re reviewing them with the union,” he said. “The questions that we’re thinking about are very straightforward — how do we make the game more competitive and less financially damaging for the franchises that are struggling?”
It’s important to note that there are still a number of issues up in the air. The owners and players would like to work through these and other problems with just baseball, Clark said. But if the issues still remained unresolved after baseball begins playing again, and there is a threat of a labor stoppage, the union would still be open to a lockout.
Clark said there have been discussions of a possibility of having the two sides “talk, cool down, and then deal with it.”
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