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Dodgers: Walker Buehler Rips MLB Owners as CBA Impasse Continues



After four straight days of meetings in Florida, fans are getting no closer to seeing a baseball season start on time. By all accounts, MLB club owners and the players union remain far apart in several key areas of the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic summarized it this way

“But the owners’ strategy from the start was to squeeze the union until regular-season games were in jeopardy, all the while recoiling in disgust when the player-serfs rejected their crumbs and refused to view them as benevolent despots.”

The owners are getting what they want in this back and forth it seems. And players have had enough. 

Dodgers ace right-hander Walker Buehler sounded off on Thursday night, slamming club owners’ unwillingness to offer up a fair slice of the pie. A pie that the players earn for these owners. Here’s what he said in a pair of now deleted tweets. 

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CBA talks aren’t fun content at all. However, when players snap, at least there’s something to get the blood circulating again.

If a new deal isn’t agreed upon in principle by Monday, then MLB has threatened to postpone opening day this year. In retort, the union has said that if teams don’t play a full 162 game season, they will withdraw their blessing for expanded playoffs in 2022.

While the two sides have agreed to some items in a new CBA, they remain far apart in financials. Most recently, ESPN’s Jeff Passan provided this summary.

At the moment, the competitive balance tax and tanking are perhaps the biggest headache points.

The league and reps from the MLBPA are set to meet again on Friday. There’s no word yet as to whether they will continue to meet over the weekend.

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19 Comments

    • “This isn’t millionaires (multi-millionaires) against bilionaires”. Uh, duh, yes it is. How many businesses give as much to their employees as pro sports? So what if the owners make so much more. They took the risk with their money. They deserve the rewards. If I made the money Walker does, I would not be complaining one bit. Spoiled athletes!

      • The owners have ZERO risk since the TAXPAYERS throughout this country fund their stadiums. When they TRULY build their workplaces ON THEIR OWN, like say a movie theater or restaurant, then they can talk. The owners risk is exactly ZERO. If a player gets hurt. they REPLACE them. If baseball is so unprofitable for these billionaires, then let them live with the LAWS like every other business and get rid of their anti0trust exemption. Anybody who supports the owners is uneducated.

      • actually payroll is often BY FAR the largest expense in modern, service-oriented businesses. it’s often around 50%, even in industries that don’t produce NEAR the revenue of MLB. especially tech, since overhead is negligible. why else do you think they all can afford all the gadgets and cushy working conditions? 1) it helps retain talent, and 2) if there’s a 1% chance it helps increase productivity because of increased comfort, it’s worth it.
        here’s the thing about sports: not only does the on-field/court talent provide the service, they are the commodity at the same time. it makes a huge difference when calculating salary.

    • Mark Zuckerberg is worth over $70 BILLION before he turns 40. If aperson has a TALENT (throw a baseball) then why shouldnt he be compensated for that talent in an industry that is making crazy amounts of money.
      The Illitch family owns the Detroit Tigers and are worth over $4 BILLION. NONE of them had a talent other than being born into a rich family. The wealthiest person owning a baseball team is Edward Rogers III. He inherited his money from daddy. Explain how inheriting money is taking a risk? Explain how a man worth $11 billion can have taxpayers pay for the building that houses his team. Explain how the Blue Jays cant compete because of market size. It is all a lie. St Louis has had no issue winning WS in a small market. The fact is., if the owners dont want to pay players they individually can set their own payroll limit. If the Yankees want to spend $1 billion a year in salaries SO BE IT. They have not won a WS with the highest payroll for over a decade. Maybe that should tell you that it isnt HO WMUCH you spend, it is HOW you spend it.

      • “Explain how a man worth $11 billion can have taxpayers pay for the building that houses his team.”

        That’s a question the people should be asking their Local and State elected politicians.

        The number one rule of business is to never use or use as little as possible of your money.

        The players want a larger slice of your money that the Owners collect by getting you to pay for their things of need to make a lot of money. As long as the people allow others to spend your money and make money because you convince yourself that a player getting $30+ million a year is a deal, you get what your getting, no baseball you paid for, and likely much less when they decide to play because they won’t be in game-shape. Fear not, you’ll forgive and forget until the next CBA is due even when players get $70 million a year and Owners get new stadiums paid by you.

  1. Reasonable people could resolve these issues… , unfortunately neither side is being reasonable. There is a place for inflation in these discussions though. It is in the setting of minimum salaries in the first year of the new CBA. Arguably, also in the setting the competitive balance tax threshold…relative to where it was set in the last CBA. Of course labor/ management negotiations always involve craziness in the starting positions. The idea though is to move toward the center…ain’t happenin’ here, is it?
    I hear a lot of negativity toward the owners, not everything I read about their proposals strikes me as unfair…some of their positions are. It seems to me the players are not as smart as the owners; perhaps they need smarter negotiations and more realistic union reps who are capable of shaping more effective arguments backed by numbers…like you’ve seen their books. To beat owners, you have to think like an owner and be every bit as smart as they are.

    • Why do the owners need a salary cap? My company sets salaries. If the COMPETITION wants to pay more, they can. THAT is competition at its truest sense of the word. I will also point out that MLB is granted an exemption to anti-trust laws. They also steal money for stadiums that bring them money and take money from needed services in cities. If these billionaires can not afford to build their own stadiums, and live within exiting laws, it would seem they need to disband their business like every other business would.

  2. The players did not strike. The OWNERS have instituted a lockout. This could end tomorrow if the owners OPENED the doors and negotiated in good faith. They wont.

  3. “The money is subjective” Huh? There is nothing more objective than money. Buehler lost me forever with that illogical whine especially since he makes more in one season than 99% of the world makes in a lifetime. Millions not enough for you Walker? Ever think about the fans Walker? What a bush league brain.

    • if you think buehler is talking about his OWN earning capacity, you’re smoking the good stuff. let’s just say the owners get EVERYTHING they want out of this (is that what you’d prefer? just curious as to why someone would push for owners to reduce the earning capacity for lower-earning players)…walker buehler would not be affected in the slightest, to my knowledge. that guy will still write his own ticket for his next contract…he’ll crack $30M with or without a better CBA for players.
      no, what he’s talking about is guys who CANNOT do that well. and also about how the owners have total control over players for the first 6 years of their careers unless they get cut/or are undrafted free agents.
      in some respects MLB players have it good. their contracts are pretty much guaranteed, unlike NFL players, who can get cut if injured (with no recourse as to getting the rest of their contract fulfilled). however, MLB players have a lot of hoops to jump through if they want to earn more than their first contract. there is no guarantee that a player will EVER make it to free agency and make the big money…meaning, wouldn’t it be decent if they could get free agency after, say, 4 years? or restricted free agency, anyway (so their team can match any offer)?? that 6 year thing is HUGE, because it takes teams into the middle of a player’s prime, on average. meaning they MISS half their primes, especially if they’re not superstars. so that first contract is just a way for owners to SKIP having to pay for the early prime years, which are pretty special compared to the rest of a player’s career (again, unless they’re a superstar).
      but no, unless the owners are willing to relinquish the indentured servitude feel of the first half (or more) of most players’ careers, and willing to guarantee the MLBPA a FIXED & very competitive percentage of MLB’s total income, so that there’s no NEED to worry about inflation…then i’ll side with the players.

  4. the owners suck massively. their custom of tanking ruins the game. and those who want to blame the players can sod off back home. you know nothing, you are nothing.

    we already have too damn many playoff games, and now the owners want to add more playoffs? what a crock. the owners are a bunch of greedy crooks who are doing their damnedest to ruin this game. way to go, fellas. go make love to your money some more, cos you ain’t getting no love here!

    Dodger fan since the old old days, always Dodger fan here. but the owners and Rob Manfred are determined to destroy this game.

  5. I don’t need baseball. It’s laughably pathetic, but completely expected of an entitled ballplayer to say something so asinine like, inflation affect all of us, or the league is throwing us crumbs. Mr Buehler, you are out of touch with reality and obviously a moron. Most regular folk whose hard earned wages pay your million dollar salary would love to collect some of those crumbs you talk about.

  6. if this were a different industry, the players wouldn’t be taking NEAR the heat for wanting certain freedoms. the anti-trust exemption for baseball owners makes it impossible, for instance, for players who vastly outperform their current contract to hit the open market…they have to settle, IF eligible, for binding arbitration. which is better than nothing, but…

    if this were the coffee industry, and MLB owners were Starbucks, Peets, Folgers, etc., then the players wouldn’t be the BARISTAS…they’d be the COFFEE. meaning, without the players, MLB owners would have NO PRODUCT to sell. and the NFL showed us in the 80s how well “replacement players” are accepted by fans…not well at ALL.

    so, IF the owners manage to pull their collective heads out of their singular orifice (r. manfred’s?), then they’ll do some things to provide more freedom and earning ability for the lower earners. like…only have draftees locked up for maybe 4 years, with restricted free agency after 4 so the team could still match offers. and yes, raise the minimum and tie it to inflation, at least. i haven’t started digging all the way into the proposals, but those are the 2 issues that scream out at me for attention. the big earners will ALWAYS earn HUGE. these negotiations are not really for THEM, outside of maybe an earlier free agency. the OTHER guys, who are necessary to any winning team, should also get taken care of, and there are ways to do it without costing a ton. but it WILL cost CONTROL, which the owners are loath to surrender.

    this thing is ALL ABOUT control for the owners. their anti-trust exemption means they can blackball any player, should they choose. they can ALL not tender an offer to anyone they think is an agitator…and they’ve written into previous CBAs LOOPHOLES that give them extended control over players’ shelf lives without
    having to pony up more money if a player is vastly outperforming his first (or ANY) contract…but in the free marketplace that is the American economy, if i’m outperforming MY PAY, i can hit the open market at any time. if i’m under contract with a non-anti-trust-exempted company, then i can STILL (typically) opt out under certain circumstances, with certain requirements (NDA, etc). and most contracts have riders that allow for renegotiation if a person outperforms to a certain measure. don’t know why this shouldn’t also be the case for sports. buying a sports team is one of the better investments a wealthy person can make…it’s almost like real estate in that times of depreciation are usually VERY SHORT, while APPRECIATION is a long, LONG-term reality. just look at the values of sports franchises historically: they VASTLY out-appreciate inflation, and outperform almost any market indicators, period.