Major League Baseball officially announced they have delayed the start of Spring Training games until at least early March as negotiations with the Players Association (MLBPA) for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) continue.
The league and Players Association remain far apart on the core economics of a new CBA, although they have already agreed to changes such as the universal designated hitter and a lottery draft.
“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of Spring Training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5th. All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands,” MLB said in their statement.
“The Clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the Club to any Spring Training games that are not taking place. We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side.
“On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”
As it currently stands, the Los Angeles Dodgers would not play their first 2022 Spring Training game until a split doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers on March 5.
Although there is no CBA in place, MLB team owners could have chosen not to implement the lockout, which began on Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. PT, and allowed Spring Training to continue.
Previously, MLB reportedly threatened the union by saying they would be willing to cancel regular season games as well if the players were unwilling to drop more of their requests.
The floated deadline for an agreement to be reached to avoid delaying or canceling regular season games is by the end of February so it is encouraging the two sides will meet everyday next week to negotiate.
Once a deal is agreed to, it would be a fairly quick process to get the league back on track. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred previously estimated it would take roughly five days for a new CBA to be ratified in order for Spring Training camps to open.
Spring Training would need to last a minimum of four weeks so players can adequately prepare for the start of the season.
Jaime Jarrín urges MLB, MLBPA to end lockout
Prior to the start of Spring Training officially being delayed, Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín called on both sides to stay engaged in negotiations until a new CBA is agreed upon due to time being of the essence.
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