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MLBPA withdraws request for expedited free agency; Union, league to meet again Tuesday

It appears some progress is being made in negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA.

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Representatives for Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association met face-to-face Monday for the first time since the owners locked out the players in early December, and while it doesn’t appear that any substantial progress was made between the two sides, it at least seems that the pace of talks is accelerating as the scheduled beginning of spring training quickly approaches.

According to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, the union withdrew its request for players to reach free agency before accruing six years of service time in Monday’s meeting. The MLBPA had previously proposed a system under which players could reach the free-agent market after accumulating five years of service time if they were a certain age — initially 30.5, then later 29.5.

The talks went on for about two hours, and the two sides are expected to meet again on Tuesday. While the league in particular has been slow-playing the process over the first two months of the lockout, we may see talks kick into gear for good now since we’re less than a month from the beginning of spring training, and front offices still must dedicate significant attention to building their rosters for the 2022 season once an agreement is reached. It remains to be seen whether the union is willing to concede on hot-button issues — as it was widely panned for doing during the last CBA negotiations — in order to accelerate the process.