Negotiators for striking baseball players broke off talks after meeting for two hours in New York yesterday to discuss a new proposal from the owners on the issue of free agent compensation.
But spokesmen for the players said the proposal, which would reduce the percentage of free agents covered by the compensation rules and lessen some types of compensation, did not appear to go far enough to end the 13-day strike.
"We received a proposal from ownership today that is not, we feel, fundamentally different from the proposal that has been on the table for some time," said player representative Bob Boone of the Philadelphia Phillies. "There was some small movement on their part."
Neither side would predict when negotiations would resume, but federal mediator Kenneth E. Moffett said last night that talks would be resumed today. Moffett said he was pleased that the two sides had met for two hours and that a new proposal had been placed on the table.
Ray Grebey, chief negotiator for the owners, said he was disappointed the players left the bargaining table. "i think the burden rests with the players association," Grebey said.
Boone said the players will be back to the table with a reasoned response. "We feel some major movement is necessary," he said.
Under the new proposal, the percentage of free agents covered by the compensation rules would be reduced from those falling in the top 50 percent of performance statistics to those in the top 40 percent.
A "Type A" free agent would be one who falls in the top 25 percent, and a team signing that player would surrender its 16th best player to the team losing that free agent.
A free agent falling in the 25 to 40 percent category -- Type B -- would require the signing team to give up its 21st best player as compensation. The owners had previously demanded the 19th best player as compensation for a Type B free agent.
The owner's former proposal had designated Type A free agents as those in the top 33 percent and Type B as those in the 33 to 50 percent category.
As the negotiatiors met behind closed doors, time was running out in the midnight deadline for the expiration of the waiting period before the owners' $50 million strike insurance policy was to make effect.
Under terms of the policy -- written by Lloyds of London -- once 153 games have been missed because of the strike, the owners become eligible for payments of $100,000 for each subsequent baseball date missed, up to a maximum of 500 missed dates. For insurance purposes, a doubleheader counts as one date.
The 153rd game since the strike began June 12 was scheduled yesterday.