MLB cancels another week of games as lockdown continues

Despite a marathon bargaining session that dragged on from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening — with only a brief respite for sle...


Despite a marathon bargaining session that dragged on from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening — with only a brief respite for sleep — Major League Baseball and the players’ union couldn’t resolve a roadblock and strike a new labor agreement. before the 6 p.m. deadline set by the league.

As a result, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced Wednesday night that another week of regular-season games has been canceled. And the second-longest work stoppage in sports history continued.

“Due to the logistical realities of the schedule, two more series are being removed from the schedule, which means opening day is postponed to April 14,” Manfred said in a statement. “We have worked hard to reach an agreement and have offered a fair deal with meaningful improvements for players and our fans. I am saddened by the continued impact of this situation on our game and everyone in it, especially especially our loyal fans.

Manfred notably didn’t use the word cancellation in his statement, but the wiggle room with which to adjust to a full 162-game regular season is shrinking.

Although MLB threatened last week not to reschedule canceled games – or compensate players for them – the league offered players this week a chance to play a full season with rescheduled games, and therefore salary. and full service time. Rescheduling one week of games is obviously much easier than two, and the latter may be unlikely while keeping the same dates for the World Series in October.

“The owners’ decision to cancel additional games is completely unnecessary,” the union responded in a statement Wednesday. “After making a series of comprehensive proposals to the league earlier this afternoon, and learning that substantial responses were forthcoming, the players have yet to receive a response.

“The players want to play and we can’t wait to get back on the pitch for the best fans in the world. Our top priority remains to finalize a fair contract for all players, and we will continue negotiations to that end.”

Now, an already tense and complicated labor dispute could become even more vexed over an important issue: compensation and player service time related to missed games.

In MLB’s eyes, lost games mean less revenue for its 30 clubs, and so the league doesn’t think it should have to compensate players for those missed games. The union’s position is that players will demand full pay and time on duty for games that MLB has unilaterally canceled, or they will attempt to have them postponed.

But a resolution to Wednesday’s major stumbling block may be within reach. A league official, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the negotiations, said MLB and the union should continue to discuss late Wednesday night a way to resolve a disagreement that presented an obstacle in the run-up to the deadline: The international draft and a form of draft compensation.

MLB wanted to implement an international draft but keep the system of qualifying offers. The players did not want the international draft, but wanted to eliminate the qualifying offer system, which ties draft pay to certain major league free agents who sign with other teams.

MLB gave two options Wednesday morning to resolve the impasse before wanting the parties to return to other unresolved issues. The union rejected them.

In the afternoon, when the union said it was waiting for a response from the league on its proposal, MLB offered three other options, according to two league officials: the union could maintain the status quo on the two questions, the union could accept the trade, or, in a more complicated alternative, the union could have the qualifying offer system eliminated on the condition that it has until November 15 to accept an international project that would begin in 2024. If the union refused the draft, then MLB would have the right to terminate the CBA after the 2024 season.

The union rejected all three options and gave its alternative in which the offer to qualify was scrapped for the 2022 season and teams would have until November 15 to accept the international draft. If this did not happen, the qualifying offer would return after the 2022-23 offseason and the existing international amateur signing system would remain in place.

But that offer from the union came after MLB’s 6 p.m. deadline on Wednesday, so the league followed through on its threat, bringing the total of canceled games to about 180. If the sides were to move past their dispute over the international repechage and qualification offers, they could reconsider the other files which had progressed this week.

“We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will eventually choose to accept the fair deal they have been offered,” Manfred said.

The parties have been discussing a new collective agreement since last spring. When they were unable to reach a new one before the previous one expired, Manfred locked out players on December 2, which brought the sport to a standstill as all player transactions were frozen.

On March 1, when the parties failed to agree on a new pact before the league’s first self-imposed deadline, Manfred canceled the first two series, through April 6, of the regular season, which was to begin in March. 31.

On Monday, MLB tried again with a deadline, telling players that Tuesday was the day to strike a deal that would allow all 162 games. The parties spent all day Tuesday negotiating and conversations continued into the wee hours of Wednesday.

Proposals have moved forward considerably in recent days, with gaps narrowing on sticking points such as minimum wages and luxury tax thresholds. But on Wednesday the biggest issues emerged: the international draft and the qualifying bid system.

Although it only affects a handful of players a year, the union doesn’t like inhibitors of players’ free will, so they wanted to end the qualifying offer system. Teams, especially those in smaller markets, like to get something in return for losing a top player to a rival.

Hoping to curtail the unsavory practices of an international amateur free agent market that the league oversees, MLB has long wanted to implement an international draft. Players, however, repeatedly rejected the idea, preferring the free market.

Currently, children outside of the United States and Canada can sign with teams as young as 16. But they are often scouted and make verbal deals with much younger teams, especially in the baseball-crazed Dominican Republic. MLB is concerned about corruption in the system and concerned that children are being given performance-enhancing drugs by their coaches.

With the latest developments, teams are facing the possibility that the first games will be missed due to a work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike, which resulted in the cancellation of more than 900 games and World Series 1994. This remains the longest work stoppage in baseball history.

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Newsrust - US Top News: MLB cancels another week of games as lockdown continues
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