MLB Lockout Rumors: 2022 Spring Training Likely To Be Delayed

MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) held two meetings last week and it appeared both sides finally made some progress toward putting a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in place.

However, that perception was mostly a mirage as the players were ultimately disappointed and even angry with MLB’s offer.

Time is winding down for the two sides to get a deal done with around one month left to agree on a deal before Opening Day would potentially get delayed. That leaves even less time for a new CBA before Spring Training is scheduled to begin later this month.

A deal would need to come together over the next few days to avoid delaying Spring Training, but an agreement that soon is highly unlikely to happen, according to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

Anyone sensing momentum in baseball’s collective bargaining negotiations needs to take a deep breath. League and player representatives continue to hold much different views of the game’s economics. The scheduled start of spring training in mid-February is clearly in jeopardy. In another few weeks, Opening Day on March 31 would be a longshot, too.

During the meetings last week, MLB also appeared to threaten the MLBPA with the loss of regular season games during the 2022 season if the players are unwilling to drop more of their demands soon.

MLB owners likely see this as a scenario where losing some money now by canceling games is more beneficial for them than potential long-term losses if they give into the players’ demands.

The union, on the other hand, have a lot more to lose and need an agreement to come quicker.

It’s easy to call it a “millionaires versus billionaires” debate, but roughly 68% of the players protected by the MLBPA earn less than $1 million each season. A lot of the players need income, such as players on a 40-man roster but have yet to make their debut and earn less than $45,000.

Players have also been seeing a smaller chunk of the revenue they create. Despite revenue in MLB increasing in every year besides 2020’s COVID-impacted season, payrolls around the league have been dropping by nearly 5% since their previous high in 2017.

MLB not requiring MiLB players to be vaccinated

While it is unclear when the Major League season will begin, the Minor League campaign is still scheduled to begin on time as the players are not protected by the MLBPA.

Although the coronavirus (COVID-19) still spreading rapidly in most states, MLB has decided against the Minor League vaccination requirement they were close to finalizing near the end of last season.

However, vaccines will still be required for staff who are in contact with the players.

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