MLB and Players Union Do Not Reach Agreement – Season Will Not Start on Time

Since the self imposed owner’s lockout began on December 1st, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association have sporadically been in talks about a wide range off meant to better or worsen the state of the players and the game, depending on which side you are on.

MLB then stated that February 28th was a hard end to discussions, if there were to be games starting on time.

February 28th has come and gone – however, MLB moved the hard deadline to 5pm ET on Tuesday, March 1st.

Both sides had dozens of discussions throughout Monday and into Tuesday morning, both between themselves and with each other. Players walked back and forth between where the owners were located and their own discussion area. Things were said to be progressing enough that an extension to the deadline was warranted.

But, as time marched towards that second owner imposed deadline, reps from MLB began to float rumors that the union was not willing to compromise, that the union was taking a step backwards, and that talks had deteriorated, again, due to the union.

However, it was only one side that was unwilling to compromise – the owners.

The final off from MLB came in just before 4pm ET. It includes

  • No changes to the current CBA threshold which is 220/220/220/230/240 over the next five seasons
  • a $5M increase on the pre-arbitration bonus pool, from $25M to $30M
  • An increase of minimums from $675K to $700K, moving up $10K a year

The MLBPA unanimously rejected the owners proposal and the regular season will not start on time.

The union earlier offered to drop its request on the new pre-arbitration bonus pool to $85M the first year, with a $5M increase annually over course of the deal. The union was previously at $85M, with MLB having been at $25M.

The MLBPA has also backed off their ask for increasing the percentage of players who would be qualify for Super Two status. They had first countered with 35%, but it was since dropped to 22%.

Another sticking point for the owners was the expansion of playoff teams. As currently constructed, there are 10 team – three divisional winners plus two wild card teams per league. The owners wanted 14 playoff teams, which was tied to a contingent deal with ESPN for $100M.

According to reports, MLB attempted to coax the Players Association into a 14-team postseason format by tying it to a $700,000 minimum salary and $40 million pre-arbitration bonus pool. The union has been seeking a $775,000 minimum and $115 million for a bonus pool.

At a press conference at 5pm ET on Tuesday, Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that the season will indeed not start on time.

In his speech, Manfred laid out what the owners offered, but since an agreement could not be met, the first two series of the season have been canceled. He stated that the games will not be made up, and the players will not be paid for time missed.

The MLBPA and player representatives have left Florida and the next meeting between the two parties is unknown.

Rob Manfred stated on December 2nd, when the owners imposed this lockout, that this was the best way to preserve the 2022 season. He stated that he hoped the lockout would jumpstart the negotiations to get an agreement on time for the season to start.

The owners next sent their proposal 43 days later.

Not only are the fans losing the game they love, so many facets of people are losing their jobs – spring training facilities, concession workers, local places that see upticks in revenue because of baseball, clubhouse workers, and on and on. The owners are not losing much to stick to this greed to not share just a fraction more with the players, the ones actually playing the game.

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Jeff

33 thoughts on “MLB and Players Union Do Not Reach Agreement – Season Will Not Start on Time

  1. The owners continue to spin this as the Players, who actually generate the fan interest, are greedy millionaires. It is the same in the US the Billionaire & Trillionaire individuals & conglomerates that have made huge profits want to demonize the workers. Get smart people the Union cannot give in on key elements as that would bust the Union. As long as the owners continue their disingenuous media stance this stoppage will continue. I hope the Union stays strong. Team owners need to make their teams competitive not pocket the compensation money.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Amen, tmax. I hope more fans see through the propaganda, the owners are feeding us via the media.

    I don’t watch baseball because of the owners, I watch baseball because of the players. Without players there is no product, so why do the owners keep treating their employees the way they do?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are far more small and mid size market teams than there are large market teams. Since every team gets one vote, the guys who can’t or won’t spend their money are the ones controlling the game right now.

    I would guess that there won’t be another meeting (either in person or via Zoom) for at least a week or two. Each side will figure that if they approach the other they’ll be showing weakness.

    The next announcement we’ll hear is Manfred announcing another couple of weeks worth of games postponed.

    It may only take 10 or 12 wins to make the playoffs this year. And we thought 2020 was a short season.

    Looks like you might be right, TMax. Could be a very long delay to the start of the season. I still think they’ll be up and running by May 1st though.

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  4. If I wasn’t pissed before, I am now. And I am disgusted with both sides. Because they lose some revenue, and the people who foot the bill, the fans, get screwed once again. I think the leaders on both sides need to be removed. Manfred is a sick joke and Clark is not a leader. I do not care who is right or wrong, but with all the crap that is going on in the world, plus the soaring cost of living here in the US, just where in the wide wide world of sports do they expect the fans to get the money to attend games the way prices are climbing? I already cancelled my MLB subscription. And at this point, I am not renewing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will take time, but fans will return. Maybe not as many as before, but they know fans are addicts. TV money will be there, so they don’t need full stadiums. And when the Dodgers start winning, and you know they will, 40,000 will show up. I won’t, you won’t, but they don’t need us. FCI will be somewhere north of $350, in many parks higher than that. And people will pay Bear. People will definitely pay.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know they will. I will see some baseball this year. I plan on going to the Springs and watching the Sky Sox play. Hopefully, I can see them play OKC. They are a Brewers farm team now. Used to be the Rockies AAA affiliate. Last time my sis and I went to a game, I think she paid north of 200 bucks just for the seats. Parking was 40 bucks because she needed handicap parking with her bad knees. My brother paid for the food. Garlic fries were 9 bucks, drinks, 7 something apiece and Dodger dogs, about 6.50. 6.50 for a frippen hot dog? I won’t even spend 3.00 for a hamburger! They have priced my right out of the ball park. Not to mention the fact that MLB.TV is 120 a year, or if you get it by the month, 25.00. The only reason I got it last year was because I got a veteran’s rate after I got back from my visit to California and paid only 18.99 for the rest of the season after June.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you on leadership bear, Manfred isn’t able to sway the owners, or get a consensus, the way Selig was able to, and Clark let the owners hose the players so badly on the last contract negotiation, he is trying to play catch up to save his job.

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  6. Andy, that was the perfect cartoon caption for today’s article, it fits how all of us fans feel. We all pretty much expected this, but expecting it, and having it happen are two different things.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Did you do the math on those numbers? The differences are relatively workable. This entire ordeal is relatively stupid. The owners need to get a clue.“ Bill Plaschke

    I don’t always agree with Plaschke, but his column nailed it this morning. Our national pastime is currently ranked 4th in popularity behind even college football. And it’s falling fast. Billionaires feuding with millionaires, while those who fund the entire megillah sit and watch is really flippin stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Missed gsmes in April? Hohum! I think 163 games is too many anyway. Why play freezing cold games in April in places like Chicago and Detroit? Why see teams in the playoffs eith hurt and tired players who are pushing to finish the marathon? Just my opinion

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    1. 162 games, plus 20 or so in spring. Then the playoffs and World Series. If a team makes the playoffs, they will have played close to 190 games before they even get there. Of course, not all the players play all the games. Back in the day when only the pennant winners in each league played, unless there was a playoff, they played 154 and then what ever amount were played in the series. Personally, blame the schedule makers for games in late March and April played in frigid temps. Opening the season in Colorado for instance is usually insanity. I have seen it snow here on Memorial day. I think they should go back to 154 games, cut out most interdivisional play, increase the games in your own division, and align the divisions more regionally. The 5 Cali teams would all be in the same division.

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      1. More games means more revenue. I just read each game makes an average $4 million in stadium. Add the tv revenue to that. If they go to 154, per game ticket prices, and concession costs will go up commensurately. Bear’s hot dog and a beer is gonna cost $20.

        Day night doubleheaders? Neutral site playoffs? Beats me.

        Multi Lordly Billion dollar industry. And fans pay for all of it. Is it worth it? Well, what else is there to do with Spring and Summer?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t drink beer and quit eating hot dogs years ago. Prices are already too damn high for me.

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      3. Nope, not paying those prices. I can go to Rancho and see the Quakes and everything is a lot cheaper.

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  9. Just as fans are divided (although not very evenly) in terms of which side is to blame for no baseball, so are the members of the media.

    Here’s a link to an article from Mark Feinsand this morning, detailing all of the changes the owners agreed to. I happen to be a fan of Feinsand’s but I must say this one seems like it was written by Manfred and Feinsand just put his name on it. It does, however, give a good breakdown of what the owners agreed to.
    https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-mlbpa-cba-negotiations-update

    Ken Rosenthal, on the other hand, has an article in The Athletic this morning (subscription only) that is an absolutely scathing take down of the owners, and his “favorite” Manfred in particular. Kenny seems like such a mild mannered guy but this subject has really made him explode.

    No word yet on when they might start negotiating again. I guess that first, the PR departments have to do their work.

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    1. I never heard of Feinsand but that article makes sense to me. Neither of these parties appear to have a clue how good they have it. I say to all fans out there – it’s time to boycott baseball.

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      1. Feinsand has covered the Yanks for a million years for various NY newspapers and is a regular contributor on the MLB network.

        Boycott baseball? I plan to do that until the CBA is settled. I will then watch every Dodger game. I know my weaknesses.

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      2. The Yankees? I don’t read Yankee coverage.

        At least boycott Opening Day. You can’t be that weak.

        They are talking about this right now on ATH. They too believe both sides are being asinine. And, they said it’s not the old addicts like Jefe that will be lost, it’s the younger fan. I think they risk losing both.

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      3. I don’t read Yankee coverage either. I know Feinsand from the MLB network, which I view on a regular basis.

        Why would I boycott Opening Day since I hadn’t planned to go to the ballpark and would just watch it on TV? Nobody is going to make any money off of the fact that I’ll be watching that one game. They ain’t gettin’ rich off of me. I’m still wearing a Dodger hat I got about ten years ago.

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      4. If fans were organized, and boycotted Opening Day, it would send a message. Don’t go, don’t listen, don’t watch. Read about it the next day.

        Of course that won’t happen, but I’d like to see it.

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      5. If fans didn’t go to the ballpark, that’s an easy calculation, but with the way people view events these days, I think they have a hard time determining audience anyway. Live on TV, streaming, later on replay, etc.

        So, because you’re a good friend, I’m not going to go to DS. And since you can’t tell whether I’ll be watching or not………………………………………….

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      6. I will know whether you watched or not because you will tell me whether you watched or not. You and I have known each other a long time. I don’t see you hiding the truth from me.

        Low ballpark attendance would be the shot heard around the nation. People protesting at the park would get media attention too. Of course, neither of those things are going to happen. People will line up and pay the lords because that’s what people do. It’s what they’ve always done. Maybe not as many as in the past, but enough to feed the lions. MLB is counting on it.

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    2. I think that’s the best deal they are gojng to get. Seems more than fair to me. Must be thousands of minor league players that would love to play for $700,000

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    1. Thanks for holding me in such high esteem Keith. But just for the record, I only promised Scoop I wouldn’t go to the stadium. Never actually promised not to watch. As I said above, I know my weaknesses.

      So Scoop, I’m letting you know right now, I’ll probably be watching or listening. At our age, we need to get all the enjoyment we can every day. Tomorrow might not arrive as scheduled. Now, if you can somehow get a large majority of Dodger fans to boycott opening day broadcasts, we can revisit this. I wouldn’t want to be the guy to ruin the protest.

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      1. Fans are addicts. It’s like quitting a drug habit. They may say they can do it, but they won’t. Baseball knows that. Owners have the drug. They are holding out, creating withdrawals, and when they return they will charge the addicts more than before. You think owners are going to lose money? Think again.

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  10. Gordon, I think the pre arbitration salary is something that can be worked out, like what you said, 700 grand isn’t to bad to start, if the owners would offer a little more of an escalator as each year goes I think it could get done.The biggest hurdle I see is the luxury tax, and the heavy handed penalties for exceeding the thresholds. The owners are using the tax as a pseudo salary cap, and that is something that the players are going to fight tooth and nail. If the owners raise the tax closer to what the players are asking for, or lessen the penalties this could get done, but I don’t see much give in the owners they haven’t made many concessions without asking for something else in return. The owners want this battle, they want to dominate the players, and their egos won’t let them end the lockout unless they feel like they get everything they want.

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    1. Right keith, but I think the bigger problem is 10 teams tanking every year to reduce wages. The higher floor should make the players very happy, but as this is not a big issue with them, I think they know those teams DON’T make any money so the only way to raise wages is to raise the “salary cap” so that 3/4 teams increase there wage base. Seems to me that raising the floor for 10/12 teams is better than raising the ceiling for 3/4 teams. There is a way more to the “we don’t make any money” statement than we would like to believe.

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      1. Let’s face it, salary caps are needed in professional sports. And they appear to be working in all the other major sports.

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  11. I agree but there still has to be something done about the floor. If 10/12 teams can’t make money with a payroll of $100 million get rid of them, or move them or get new owners. Wouldn’t that improve the game and competition, only 20 teams. What could be worst in sports, than 10 teams trying to not win. No wonder baseball is so screwed up.

    Like

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