Rob Manfred: Missing MLB games would be 'disastrous'

ORLANDO, Fla. — With spring training slated to begin in less than a week and no new working agreements in place with players, Major Leag...

ORLANDO, Fla. — With spring training slated to begin in less than a week and no new working agreements in place with players, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said there was no no change yet in the baseball schedule and that he was optimistic. that a deal would be reached in time to start the regular season as scheduled on March 31.

But the man at the center of work stoppage in progress admitted he had considered the effect losing any regular season game would have on the sport.

“I view missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry, and we are committed to reaching an agreement with the aim of avoiding this,” Manfred said at a press conference on Thursday, which took place at the end of quarterly owner meetings. held at a luxury hotel here this week.

Even though Manfred called himself an “optimist” and cited his credentials for helping negotiate the four previous labor agreements without a dispute, the parties have made little progress since the lockout began.

The previous five-year collective agreement expired on December 1. Manfred called for a lockout the next day, essentially shutting down the sport as any dealings or conversations with players were prohibited. Although he was not required to lock players, Manfred called the move a “defensive lockout”, which he said was motivated by a desire to force action in negotiations and protect regular season games.

Although a delayed start to spring training seemed inevitable, Manfred declined to officially announce one on Thursday because MLB wanted to discuss the baseball schedule with the players’ union first. (Camps are scheduled to open Feb. 16 and spring training games are scheduled to begin Feb. 26.) Manfred, who has repeatedly said the teams are one breakthrough away from a deal, insisted the league was going to do “good things”. – positive faith proposal” with “additional moves” towards union on Saturday.

Saturday’s meeting will be only the fifth time since the start of the lockout that the parties have come together to negotiate major economic sticking points. Frustrated last week, MLB asked an outside federal mediator – whose help would be non-binding and voluntary – to intervene. The union, which made its latest proposal on February 1, rejected this decision because she thought the league should come back to the negotiating table and make a counter-offer.

When asked why it took MLB six weeks — from Dec. 2 to Jan. 13 — to submit a new proposal to the union, Manfred said the league tried several tactics to move the process forward.

“We thought the mediation suggestion might help do that,” he said. “We reached out and made proposals when there were gaps. As for any delay in the process, it is a mutual responsibility of the negotiating parties. Phones work in two ways.

This process was not to be easy. The expired ACB is considered to have tipped the balance in favor of the owners yet again. And so, when one party wants to make meaningful changes to the system – the actors – the negotiation can be laborious, tense and full of posturing.

Although the best players have won record contracts in these last years – and earlier this offseason — Players have been frustrated that their average salary of around $4 million has stagnated and hasn’t kept pace with team revenue. They also called for a host of other changes, such as getting compensation earlier for younger players (cheaper)creating ways for players to reach salary arbitrage sooner, increasing luxury tax thresholds, limiting service time manipulation and forcing teams to be more competitive through a handful of measures, including changes to the amateur draft and changes to revenue sharing between teams.

The owners, however, believe the players have the best system in professional sports and benefit from the lack of a strict salary cap. In December, Manfred called the union’s proposals “collectively the most extreme set of proposals in their history”.

At some point Thursday, Manfred recounted the items he said MLB had offered to players in an effort to address their concerns. He argued that the proposed deal was “better in every way” than the one that expired. But he reiterated that the owners were unwilling to make changes to revenue sharing because they believed it would hurt competition by giving smaller teams less guaranteed financial support than larger ones.

Throughout the life of MLB’s proposed pact, Manfred said players would earn “hundreds of millions” of dollars in new money due to changes including an increase in minimum wages and a bonus pool for players who don’t. are not yet eligible for salary arbitration. He said that estimate did not include other changes MLB had agreed to make that would help players, such as introducing a universal designated hitter and eliminating draft picks tied to signings. free agents.

But Manfred also made some erroneous comments (he misspoke, a league spokesperson later said when asked why MLB had offered to raise tax rates and penalties. for teams that exceeded luxury tax thresholds) and curious remarks (he said that historically the ROI of selling a team was “lower than what you’d expect to get on the stock market, with much more risk”.)

The union declined to comment on Thursday.

In terms of securing a new working agreement in time to avoid impacting the regular season, Manfred offered some clues. He said that the finalization of the large document could be done in a few days. To prevent injury, like the spike attributed to truncated spring training in the abridged 2020 seasonhe said a minimum of four weeks of spring training made sense – meaning a deal could be needed by the first week of March to avoid altering the 2022 regular season.

As owners of all 30 MLB clubs gathered this week, players banded together in Arizona and Florida with their union leadership. They haven’t been impacted financially yet, as they don’t get paychecks until the regular season, but they’ve been positioning themselves financially for years in anticipation of this dispute with owners.

Starting with pitchers and receivers, players were scheduled to begin reporting to spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida beginning Feb. 16. Camp usually lasts about six weeks.

In 1990, a 32 day lock half shaved spring formation. But all 162 regular season games have been played; they just started a week later than usual. Now is the critical time for ongoing labor negotiations – and the regular season.

“It’s my responsibility to do whatever we can to get a deal the industry can live with and keep the game on the pitch,” Manfred said, “and we’re trying to do that.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Rob Manfred: Missing MLB games would be 'disastrous'
Rob Manfred: Missing MLB games would be 'disastrous'
Newsrust - US Top News
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