Major League Baseball and the Players Association have not been able to agree on much over the past few years, setting the stage for a potentially eventual 2021 offseason.
The current CBA is set to expire on Dec. 1, and barring a resolution before then, the league could be facing a work stoppage. MLB commissioner Rob 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.
Looking to steer clear of a similar outcome, MLB and the players union reportedly met on Tuesday to begin early negotiations for a new CBA, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Leaders from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met Tuesday for their first official negotiating session a little more than six months before the sport’s collective bargaining agreement lapses, sources told ESPN.
The meeting was said to have been held virtually and included dozens of leaders, including MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.
While it’s unclear what specific parts of the CBA were discussed, some of the biggest issues that have plagued the sport in recent years include competitive integrity and service-time manipulation.
For both sides, it was their first time speaking to each other since talks to delay the regular season by one month went nowhere.
MLB and the MLBPA additionally could not come to a compromise that would have allowed the universal DH and expanded playoffs to return for the 2021 season.
What could MLB target in CBA talks?
Along with their desire of expanding the playing field in the postseason, MLB could push new rules in their discussions with the Players Association.
The league will once again experiment with potential changes during the upcoming 2021 Atlantic League Championship Season, which include moving the mound back and a new DH rule.
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