Rob Manfred: Missing Regular Season Games Due To MLB Lockout Would Be ‘Disastrous Outcome’

MLB team owners convened in Orlando earlier this month after recent collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations with the Players Association proved futile.

Commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference at the conclusion of the meetings and kept a positive outlook, revealing the league was planning to make a “good-faith” proposal to the union. That wound up being overstated and an offer that didn’t entice the Players Association (MLBPA).

Manfred at the time was optimistic meaningful progress would be made and opted against announcing a delay to the start of 2022 Spring Training. Of course, that wound up coming shortly after, and Spring Training games now won’t begin until Tuesday, March 8 at the earliest.

While losing exhibition games isn’t necessarily the worst-case scenario, Manfred is focused on getting a new CBA in place as soon as possible to ensure the regular season begins on time, via MLB Network:

“If I hand’t given consideration to what it would mean to miss games, I wouldn’t be doing my job. Obviously I pay attention to that. I see missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry. We’re committed to making an agreement in effort to avoid that.”

Manfred’s comments came two weeks after MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem reportedly said in a meeting with the union that the league is willing to lose games over some of the outstanding economic issues. MLB later doubled down on their February 28 deadline and indicated canceled games will not be rescheduled.

Then on Monday, the league reportedly relayed team owners were willing to cancel the first month of the regular season.

Although the sides remain divided on several topics, Manfred noted during his press conference that they are in agreement on implementing a designated hitter in the National League, increased minimum salaries, pre-arbitration bonus pool, Draft lottery, and elimination of draft-pick compensation that gets attached to free agents by way of a qualifying offer.

Of course, there are significant differences to overcome within that framework, specifically with the MLBPA seeking a $775,000 minimum salary and $115 million bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. MLB thus far has countered at a $640,000 minimum, $20 million bonus pool, respectively.

MLB reportedly not testing for steroids during lockout

When MLB team owners voted to impose a lockout at the beginning of December, all Major League player activity was halted, meaning free agent signings, trades and waiver claims are not permitted.

Another loss brought on by the work stoppage is drug testing. The league reportedly has stopped testing players for steroids — a first in two decades — due to the expiration of the CBA.

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