NEW YORK (AP) -- Trying to spark talks, baseball owners presented a new revenue-sharing deal to the union, calling the offer a significant step toward what players want.
The proposal, made Tuesday night and disclosed Wednesday, was much better received than management's luxury-tax plan last week, which was so far from what players would accept that they set an Aug. 30 strike date.
Revenue sharing among teams and a luxury tax on high payrolls to slow salary increases are the chief issues that could lead to baseball's ninth work stoppage since 1972.
Rob Manfred, management's top labor lawyer, said the revenue-sharing plan was a "substantial move toward the union both in structure and in transfer amount."
He wouldn't disclose details of the proposal, but another person familiar with the plan, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said it would transfer about $270 million, $12 million less than management's previous offer. Manfred said the next move is up to the players.
Union lawyers said the proposal was a move in the right direction, but they wouldn't agree the shift was "substantial."
"We will respond to their proposal on revenue sharing in the very near future, more likely than not tomorrow," Gene Orza, the union's No. 2 official, said after Wednesday's second bargaining session.
In memos to players and agents last weekend, union head Donald Fehr said players already agreed to raise the amount of money to be transferred from high-revenue teams to low-revenue teams from $169 million to $235 million annually, using 2001 figures. Before their latest offer Tuesday, owners had proposed $282 million be transferred.
Meanwhile, a management lawyer sent a nine-page memo to team executives to prepare them for a strike.
Each team, the lawyer wrote, should "examine all of its contractual obligations, including agreements with other unions, employment contracts. leases, etc., to determine what cost-saving measures may be taken during the strike."
Since the 1994-95 strike, which lasted 232 days and wiped out the World Series for the first time in 90 years, the commissioner's office instituted standard employee contracts for non-players such as managers, GMs, scouts and trainers.
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