MLB Lockout Rumors: Team Owners Willing To Cancel First Month Of Regular Season

Seven consecutive days of collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations didn’t produce a new deal, which left MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) facing mounting pressure heading into the league’s self-imposed deadline.

After initially suggesting a new CBA needed to be in place by February 28, MLB recently doubled down on that stance and confirmed Opening Day would be pushed back and regular season games canceled. The league does not intend to pay players or reschedule missed games.

The union has reportedly viewed Monday’s deadline as relatively arbitrary and believe they would be able to negotiate full pay as part of an agreement.

However, rather than make progress in negotiations on Monday, team owners reportedly conveyed they are comfortable canceling up to the first month of the 2022 regular season, according to Evan Drellich, Ken Rosenthal and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:

MLB’s latest sentiment is drastically different from a tone commissioner Rob Manfred expressed during his press conference at the conclusion of owners meetings in Orlando. “I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry,” he said at the time.

“We’re committed to making an agreement in effort to avoid that.”

The start of Spring Training has already been delayed and at present time is not scheduled to begin until Tuesday, March 8, at the earliest.

Key issues for MLB & MLBPA

Among the subjects MLB and the union remain far apart on, the luxury tax threshold and accompanying penalties for exceeding it arguably is the biggest.

The Players Association is hoping to have the competitive balance tax set at $245 million for the 2022 season and increase to $273 million by the final year of the CBA.

MLB has countered at $214 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, then $216 million, $218 million and $222 million over the remaining lifetime of the CBA. The CBT was $210 million in 2021.

The league’s proposed increases fall well short of normal inflation rates and are accompanied by much harsher penalties.

The sides also are in disagreement over the value of pre-arbitration bonus pool. MLBPA set their ask at $115 million, but the league has yet to exceed $20 million.

An expanded postseason is another point of contention, as the owners wish for 14 teams to play October baseball and the MLBPA has countered at 12. The union reportedly will not approve an expanded playoffs for this year if a full season is not played.

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