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BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 109: TALKS RESUME TUESDAY
Published November 28, 1994
Baseball owners and players will meet again at the bargaining table again Tuesday. "The question is whether they have anything serious to discuss." Union officials would not say yesterday whether they will have a counter-proposal ready for the session, which will take place at a conference center outside of Washington, DC. At the last session, nine days ago, the owners put an escalating payroll tax plan on the table that the players have already said "is impractical in its present form." The two sides are to meet separately today with Special Mediator William Usery (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/28). The Tuesday session could be brief "because the players are expected to reject the tax proposal the owners made last week and they will not have the counterproposal the owners hope to see" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/26). DECLARING AN IMPASSE: It appears the owners are close to declaring an impasse and imposing their salary cap. They have a meeting for all 28 owners scheduled for December 5 in Chicago, where such a move would likely take place (Mult., 11/25-28). In a memo dated November 22, MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr warned the players of the owners' intentions (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/26). Braves President Stan Kasten said some system either agreed by both sides, or implemented by the owners, has to be in place by Dec. 6, because the next day is the deadline for clubs to offer arbitration (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/28). In Baltimore, Tom Keegan predicts without a settlement by spring training, the new Congress will repeal the labor portion of baseball's antitrust exemption (Baltimore SUN, 11/27). BAGWELL OF GIFTS: Both Phil Rogers (Dallas) and Tracy Ringolsby (Denver) note that the signing of Jeff Bagwell by the Astros may give a clue to what baseball's economics will look like post-settlement. Rogers notes that the owners are offering a new tier of restricted free agency for five- and six-year players in both proposals on the table. "Some believe owners eventually will sweeten the deal by taking away the right-of- first refusal to match offers for those players, rolling back the threshold for free agency from six years to four years." Bagwell was at the end of his 4th year (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/27). Ringolsby notes that Houston is one of the teams in "financial limbo." Astros owners Drayton McLane has projected losses of more than $22M for '94, and Astros GM Bob Watson has been "ordered" to get the '95 payroll below $30M (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 11/27). REVENUE SHARING: The N.Y. TIMES obtained a copy of the so- called revenue sharing plan the owners agreed upon in Ft. Lauderdale last January. Fifteen teams would have to pay into the fund in proportion to their revenue: Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Orioles, Dodgers, White Sox, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Indians, Phillies, Cubs, Giants, Tigers and Athletics. And 11 teams would receive pay outs from the $22.957M fund: Cardinals, Astros, Reds, Angels, Royals, Mariners, Brewers, Twins, Expos, Pirates and Padres. The two expansion teams are exempt. Figures are based on '94 pre-strike projections (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/25).