MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference at the conclusion of the owners meetings in Orlando, and somewhat surprisingly he did not announce the start of 2022 Spring Training was delayed.
Instead, Manfred said there is no change to the timetable for camps to open next week. Of course, that cannot happen without the league and Players Association (MLBPA) first agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to end the MLB lockout.
Negotiations have been few and far between since owners unanimously voted to lock players out at the beginning of December, but the latest round of negotiations is scheduled to take place on Saturday.
Along with noting possible changes to the Spring Training calendar wouldn’t happen without first speaking to the MLBPA, Manfred spoke highly of the counteroffer the league will make, via MLB Network:
“No. 1, we need to have a conversation with the union about calendar before I get into making those sorts of decisions. With respect to the proposal, we’re going to make a good-faith, positive proposal in an effort to move the process forward.”
MLB’s proposal on Saturday will be the first since their request to involve a federal mediator was rejected by the union. MLB asking for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to assist in negotiations came in the place of submitting a CBA proposal to the union.
“Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation,” MLBPA said in a statement to explain their decision.
“After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of factors, we have declined this request. The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”
MLB, MLBPA find some common ground
During his press conference, Manfred revealed MLB and the Players Association 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, significant differences still do remain within that framework, specifically with the union seeking a $775,000 minimum salary and $100 million bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. The league thus far has countered at a $615,000 minimum, $10 million bonus pool, respectively.
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