Upon Thursday’s news that MLB will be hiring a federal mediator to assist with the current collective bargaining negotiations between MLB and the MLB Players’ Association, several Seattle Mariners players (and other players around the league) have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress the league has made so far.
Players have taken to social media with more intensity than normal this week to air their grievances, with most citing the lack of actual bargaining MLB is willing to do during literal Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations:
For the casual fan, here’s a brief recap from the Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield on the primary desires of the players during the current negotiations:
Merrifield’s post primarily centers around fair compensation for players with 0-3 years of service time, as well as eliminating service time manipulation for some of the league’s brightest young stars. To provide some background on these issues, let’s take a look at two of our very own Seattle Mariners: Ty France and Jarred Kelenic.
Ty France is quite possibly the best player on the Mariners, but the minimum amount of money the team will be required to pay him next year is the league minimum of $575,000 (for reference, Kyle Seager made $20 million last season while being significantly less productive than France). Since France is only entering his third season in the major leagues next year, he will not have any say in his salary until he becomes eligible for arbitration in his fourth season.
Regarding service time manipulation, many fans remember some conversation surrounding Seattle potentially calling up star prospect Jarred Kelenic in the final stretch of the Mariners’ effort to make it into the 2020 season’s expanded playoff. Kelenic did not end up being called up, and ex-Mariners president Kevin Mather all but confirmed in a media session last year that Seattle left Kelenic off the roster so they could delay the start of his service time clock.
Players are fully within their bounds to desire changes in these frameworks and to be frustrated with the league’s stubbornness in negotiations; only time will tell how the rest of the winter plays out.