Ninety days into Major League Baseball’s lockout of its players, and after a ninth consecutive day of bargaining in Florida, no agreement has yet been made. The players union rejected a final proposal from owners on Tuesday.
Now all that’s left is for commissioner Rob Manfred to follow through on his threat to cancel regular season games with no deal in place by the league-imposed deadline. The second MLB-imposed deadline, mind you, not the first.
BREAKING: MLBPA player leaders agreed unanimously not to accept MLB's final proposal, and there will be no deal on a new collective-bargaining agreement before MLB's 5 p.m. ET deadline, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 1, 2022
MLB has threatened to cancel its March 31 Opening Day without a new deal.
After sparse meetings between the two sides for the bulk of the work stoppage, including no offer from management during the first 42 days of the league-imposed lockout, bargaining sessions finally began in earnest on February 21 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida, the spring training facilities of the Mariners and Cardinals.
Representatives for players and owners met for nine days straight, including a marathon session into the night on Monday and into Tuesday that lasted over over 16 hours, but the appearance of momentum was just an illusion.
First came Tuesday morning, with an MLB official putting the onus on the players.
....The MLBPA had a decidedly different tone today and made proposals inconsistent with the prior discussions. We will be making our best offer before the 5 pm deadline for the MLBPA that's a fair deal for players and clubs."— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) March 1, 2022
At a press conference Tuesday in Jupiter, Manfred said clarified the finality, or lack thereof, of the owners’ offer, and said players and owners will continue to negotiate.
“We never used the phrase ‘last, best, and final offer’ with the union. We said it was our best offer prior to the deadline to cancel games,” Manfred said. “It’s different than using the legal term impasse.”
As you might imagine, the players union did not agree with owners’ assessment of negotiations.
Union source contends that its tone has been consistent since yesterday, that the players are very far apart on key issues such as CBT, thresholds, and the prearb bonus pool. No difference, the union believes, from today to yesterday, in its view.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
A few major league players weren’t happy with the league’s characterization of the negotiations.
FWIW MLB has pumped to the media last night & today that there’s momentum toward a deal. Now saying the players tone has changed. So if a deal isn’t done today it’s our fault. This isn’t a coincidence. We’ve had the same tone all along. We just want a fair deal/to play ball.— Alex Wood (@Awood45) March 1, 2022
The last 24hrs I’d say there was cautious optimism on the players side because the owners were actually at the table negotiating with us toward a deal. What we’re asking is more than fair. If there’s no deal the optimism from MLB was a PR illusion to make it look like they tried.— Alex Wood (@Awood45) March 1, 2022
It’s mind blowing these dudes legitimately caused these issue & continue to lie about it. Walk out on us in Dallas. Lock us out. Don’t speak to us for 6 weeks. Take weeks at a time to respond to our proposals. Clearly don’t care about fans, baseball or the game. It’s exhausting https://t.co/1LW4Ju9sUJ— Lance McCullers Jr. (@lmccullers43) March 1, 2022
Ahh yes. “The Union has struck a different note today.” Of course.— James McCann (@McCannon33) March 1, 2022
Just another tactic trying to control the narrative. Same thing we have already seen over and over. Nothing new here. https://t.co/UYBCQqbQM4
This tactic sounded familiar to those surrounding football and hockey.
Don’t fall for it…— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) February 28, 2022
If you love Major League Baseball let the owner of your favorite team know you’re upset. This is simple. The OWNERS locked out the players. The OWNERS set today as the deadline.
If a single game is missed— just know this, it could’ve been avoided.
Creating the perception a deal is close when it’s not is a form of intense psychological pressure on players to break their will. It was straight out of Bettman’s playbook in 2005 when he cancelled the NHL season and then for a brief moment opened the door to uncancelling it. https://t.co/CrpimLiaYb— Allan Walsh (@walsha) March 1, 2022
As for the offer from MLB, the sides are far apart in a few areas, it’s hard to see a fundamental issue that causing the chasm, other than perhaps a divide between owners unhappy with not simply continuing to have revenues in the sport grow at a rate faster than player salaries.
MLB’s best, final offer before pulling down games, per MLBPA official:— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
• Pre-arb bonus pool of $30 million, up $5 million from before
• No change on CBT thresholds (220/220/220/224/230)
• Minimum salary starting at $700k, going to $740k over course of deal. PA starts $725k
MLBPA’s most recent CBT proposal (MLB’s most recent in parenths for comparison):— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
2022: $238m (220)
2023: $244m (220)
2024: $250m (220)
2025: $256m (224)
2026: $263m (230)
Some more details on MLB proposal:— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) March 1, 2022
- international draft
- universal DH
- on service time: top 2 ROY finishers in NL/AL would get a year of service irrespective of days & teams get bonus draft picks for putting top prospects on opening day roster
- 5x per year option limit
MLB proposal for draft lottery was for top five picks. Equal odds for bottom three record (16.5%). Revenue-sharing payees ineligible to be in lottery 3 straight years; non-payees ineligible in consecutive years. Ineligible teams can't pick higher than 8th overall.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 1, 2022
Now it’s just a matter of how many games will be canceled, and when the two sides might resume negotiations.
Wednesday will mark two weeks since pitchers and catchers in big league camps were supposed to begin workouts. Spring training games are currently slated to begin on March 8. This schedule has already been pushed back twice from an original February 26 spring opener.
The regular season schedule is supposed to start March 31.
At the owners meetings on February 10 in Orlando, Manfred said, “I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry.”
At 2 p.m. PT, Manfred is expected to hold a press conference in Florida, and we’ll find out just how much of a disaster this is.