Rob Manfred: Difficult To Evaluate ‘Progress’ In CBA Negotiations Between MLB, Players Association
Rob Manfred
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After the World Series reaches a conclusion next week, all of the focus will shift to the labor negotiations between MLB and the Players Association that could shape the offseason and potentially impact Spring Training and the 2022 regular season.

The two sides are attempting to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before the Dec. 1 deadline. Failing to do so will all but solidify the sport’s first lockout since the 1994-95 players’ strike, which lasted 232 days.

Given the animosity between the league and union, there isn’t much optimism that a new deal will be reached in time. Both sides have not agreed on much in recent years and filed grievances against each other over the shortened 2020 season.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that meetings are ongoing and reiterated the top priority is to strike a new CBA by Dec. 1 in order to avoid another work stoppage, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

The sides are meeting regularly, both formally and informally. Over the years, Manfred said, his position has always been one of optimism.

“It’s hard to characterize progress,” Manfred said. “Progress is, you go in a room, you’re having conversations, people are continuing to talk. It doesn’t move in any measurable way that I’ve ever figured out, and I’ve done it a long time. The most important one is I know our clubs are 100 percent committed to the idea that they want an agreement by Dec. 1.”

In the likely event a new CBA isn’t established before the deadline, it would put a freeze on free agency and potentially jeopardize the start of Spring Training next year. A worst-case scenario is the start of the 2022 season being delayed, which also happened in 1995.

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

Dodgers waiting on MLB

Along with Manfred being part of tense negotiations, the league is still conducting a Trevor Bauer investigation. The right-hander has been on the restricted list since July and there isn’t much clarity when MLB may levy a potential punishment.

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