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MLB owners ‘best and final’ offer wasn’t good enough for players

League-imposed deadline passes with no agreement

Syndication: Palm Beach Post GREG LOVETT/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK

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.

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.

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.

A few major league players weren’t happy with the league’s characterization of the negotiations.

This tactic sounded familiar to those surrounding football and hockey.

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.

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.