A month into lockout, MLB and players will finally meet for negotiations

PHOENIX — Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association will meet Thursday afternoon for the first time since Dec. 1 to discuss some core economic issues and competitive balance issues in a video conference, two officials directly involved in the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting had not yet been announced.

MLB reached out to the union to set up the call Tuesday morning after spending the last few weeks working on a new set of proposals for a new collective bargaining agreement in hopes of reaching a deal that would not delay the start of spring training, which is scheduled to start Feb. 16.

MLB is not expected to address free agency or salary arbitration in their proposals, but discuss further ways to de-incentivize tanking among teams, including the elimination of draft pick compensation for teams signing free agents.

MLB and the players association haven't met for negotiations since early December.

Major League Baseball has offered to increase the minimum salary from $570,500 to $600,000, which would rise to $650,000 and $700,000 through the CBA.

The union is seeking the competitive balance tax on payrolls to increase from $210 million to $245 million while the owners have offered a raise to $214 million at the outset.

The last time the two sides met on core economic issues, their meeting lasted only seven minutes on Dec. 1 – before MLB implemented a lockout about 12 hours later at 12:01 on Dec. 2.