When team owners unanimously voted to impose an MLB lockout, commissioner Rob Manfred touted the decision as one that would protect the sport, the 2022 regular season and help facilitate collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations.
However, MLB and the Players Association then went six weeks without discussing core economic issues. Although there have been a handful of CBA meetings since early January, any semblance of progress has been few and far between.
The slow nature of negotiations is now threatening the start of 2022 Spring Training. Camps across the league are tentatively scheduled to open next week, but that won’t come to fruition without a new CBA.
While addressing media at the conclusion of owners meetings in Orlando, Manfred said Spring Training is not yet delayed and more clarity should come this weekend after presenting a CBA proposal to the union, via MLB Network:
“The status of Spring Training is no change right now. We’re going to have a conversation with the MLBPA about the calendar. We understand where the calendar is, but until we have that conversations and until we see how this session on Saturday goes, there’s no change.”
Although Spring Training camps opening is less than a week from their tentative start date, games aren’t due to begin until Saturday, Feb. 26 — with the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning their Cactus League schedule against the Chicago Cubs.
Manfred estimated it would take one week to ratify a new CBA and get Spring Training operating. He also believes four weeks to prepare for the regular season would suffice, and remains optimistic Opening Day will remain March 31.
MLB sought federal mediation
With little progress being made in negotiations, MLB requested the involvement of a federal mediator. Such required approval from the MLBPA, who denied providing such.
“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 last week.
“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.”
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