AP source: Minor league negotiators question MLB in talks

NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiators for the governing body of the minor leagues asked questions during Wednesday’s bargaining session about what the administrative structure would be if Major League Baseball takes over their operation next year, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem did most of the talking during the one-hour electronic meeting, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

Halem and MLB executive vice president Morgan Sword were on, along with D. Scott Poley, general counsel of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor leagues’ governing body. Owners from the negotiating committees of both sides also were involved.

The sides did not address MLB’s proposal to cut the minimum total of affiliated minor league teams to 120, the most contentious issue in talks to replace the Professional Baseball Agreement that expires after this season.

No date was set for the next meeting.

The minor leagues are prepared to agree to MLB’s proposal, two people familiar with the talks had told the AP on Tuesday. The development was first reported by Baseball America.

A radical overhaul of minor league governance would change the relationship between majors and minors that was established in September 1903 by the National Agreement for the Government of Professional Base Ball Clubs. That deal called for National League, American League and National Association teams to respect each other’s contracts.