MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred: Avoiding Lockout Is ‘No. 1 Priority’
Rob Manfred
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With the 2021 regular season in its final weeks, MLB is inching closer to a potentially eventful offseason that could have serious implications on the sport.

The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire on Dec. 1, 2021, and while team owners and the Players Association reportedly have already opened up talks, it is no safe bet they will strike a new deal before the deadline given the animosity between them in recent years.

The two sides have been at odds over various issues, including rule changes, competitive integrity and service-time manipulation. They most recently were unable to compromise on an agreement that would have allowed the universal DH and expanded playoffs to return for the 2021 season.

Despite this, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is confident the league will be able to avoid another work stoppage, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

“Our No.1 priority is to get a new agreement without a work stoppage. Every single time that was our No. 1 priority. You know, it’s worked out pretty good so far.”

Manfred previously spoke on his confidence of avoiding another strike, which hasn’t happened since the 1994 season. It resulted in most of the second half of that season being cancelled, along with the postseason and part of the 1995 campaign.

Many historians consider the 1994-95 MLB strike to be one of the biggest stains in the sport’s long history, and Manfred surely would like to avoid a potential repeat of that next season.

MLB, Players Association grievance

Although Manfred recently expressed confidence the league and MLBPA would manage to negotiate a new CBA without enduring a lockout, more animosity between the two sides may soon surface as a grievance hearing begins this week.

The basis is last year’s failed negotiations to agree to an economic plan and schedule, which concluded with Manfred exercising his right to unilaterally impose a 60-game schedule.

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