NEW YORK - Commissioner Fay Vincent gave the union a new management proposal Tuesday at the stalled baseball labor talks, and the union will consider it today - one day before spring training was to begin. Management negotiator Chuck O'Connor described Vincent's concepts as "substantive and procedural."
Union head Donald Fehr said cautiously: "There was a series of suggestions made. I don't know where, if anywhere, this is going to go yet."
He tempered his remarks by adding, "I do not want to suggest that this has been some sort of breakthrough that will lead to a conclusion."
Though neither side would describe Vincent's suggestion, two sources with knowledge of management's thinking said they believed it involved negotiating a new agreement along the framework of the one that expired Dec. 31, provided that the union made a commitment to revenue sharing in the future.
The sources, who asked not to be identified, also suggested a committee on revenue sharing could be part of the proposal.
"The mere fact that we're at least dealing with a framework for discussing these issues is a little ahead of where we were last week," Fehr said.
For months, management has been insisting on a proposal in which players would get 48 percent of the revenue from ticket sales and broadcast contracts. Owners also have been suggesting a plan in which players with less than six years in the majors would be paid in one-year contracts according to statistical formulas.
Some spring training camps were to open on Thursday, but O'Connor acknowledged Tuesday that there was not enough time to do so.
In the last week, Vincent has replaced O'Connor as management's chief negotiator. Tuesday's session was conducted in Vincent's office, as was Monday's meeting, when the commissioner first presented his plan. O'Connor, the general counsel of the owners' Player Relations Committee, described Vincent as the driving force in the talks.
"The commissioner has made some suggestions that we will be discussing with our constituencies," O'Connor said after Tuesday's 90-minute session.
Fehr said the union's executive subcommittee would meet in New York today to discuss the Vincent proposal. Fehr did not know how many of the 17 players on that committee would be able to attend the meeting.
Negotiations with management will resume Thursday or Friday.
In the past, former commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth attempted to present themselves as third parties separate from management, prompting union ridicule. Vincent's assumption of a leading role for management was viewed as a positive factor by Fehr.
"I don't think this commissioner has made any pretext in any respect about who he works for," Fehr said. "That, coming from a commissioner of baseball, is a refreshing thing."
Reliever Williams signs with Cubs; Tigers' Nokes wins in arbitration
NEW YORK - Mitch Williams reached the million-dollar level Tuesday when he agreed to a new contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Williams, who made $417,500 last season, will get $1.125-million, the midpoint between the $1.4-million he had requested and the $850,000 the Cubs had offered. He had 36 saves last season, second to Mark Davis in the National League, and a 4-4 record with a 2.76 earned-run average.
Detroit catcher Matt Nokes, who appeared before arbitrator William Rentfro on Monday, won his case on Tuesday and will get $650,000 this season instead of the $400,000 offered by the club. He made $195,000 in 1989.
Five other players settled on one-year deals Tuesday, leaving 30 in arbitration. Those who settled and their salaries are Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin ($750,000), Philadelphia shortstop Steve Jeltz ($410,000), Mets infielder Dave Magadan ($395,000), Expos outfielder Mike Aldrete ($297,500), and Cardinals outfielder John Morris ($207,500).
Hearings were held Tuesday for Padres catcher Benito Santiago, Indians reliever Doug Jones and catcher Andy Allanson, Pirates shortstop Rafael Belliard, and Reds reliever Randy Myers.
Yankees infielder Randy Velarde, not yet eligible for arbitration, agreed Tuesday on a one-year contract for $36,500 over the minimum salary, which has not yet been negotiated between the union and management. It was $68,000 last season.