MLB lockdown: Another deadline set for game cancellations

Seven days after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred canceled a week of regular season games because the league did not have...


Seven days after Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred canceled a week of regular season games because the league did not have a labor agreement with the players in place to start the 2022 season, MLB gave the players’ union a new deadline, with a slightly different position than before.

During Monday’s talks, league officials told their union counterparts that Tuesday was the new goal by which to strike a collective bargaining agreement to squeeze in a 162-game season, which would come with full pay and time on duty for players, said two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

But if no pact was made Tuesday night, MLB had to do what it did last week: cancel regular season games. If that were to happen – another week of cancellations was on the table – the parties would have a much more difficult road to travel: there is unlikely to be enough time to reschedule two weeks of matches while maintaining the same dates for the World Series in October. In the eyes of MLB, lost games equate to less revenue for their clubs, and therefore they do not believe they should compensate players for these missed competitions.

So, for the third time in about a week, the teams – who have been at odds for months – were on their terms. Each hunkered down in their respective offices in Manhattan, and they continued to negotiate late into the night, building enough momentum to keep talking into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. A little after 3 a.m. EST, a league official said the union had requested time to speak to its board of directors in the morning regarding MLB’s latest proposal and would return to the league. later Wednesday morning.

MLB crippled the league Dec. 2 by excluding players when the previous five-year contract expired. Manfred then said that he was doing it as a defensive move to protect the 2022 season. And early last month he said losing regular season games would be “catastrophicfor the industry.

No results were avoided. This season was scheduled to start on March 31. Sensing the urgency to reach a deal in time to accommodate MLB’s schedule for the season, the sides met in Florida beginning Feb. 21 for what turned into nine straight days of negotiations.

When little momentum was created during 16.5 hours of talks on February 28 – the last day of negotiations before an ultimatum – MLB extended its self-imposed deadline until 5 p.m. the next day. But the players rejected the league’s supposedly best and final offer before the deadline, saying it still did not sufficiently address their concerns. Shortly after 5 p.m., Manfred called off the first two series of the season for all 30 teams — about 75 games through April 6.

Since returning to New York, where both organizations are headquartered, MLB and the union have met and exchanged proposals, including several times on Tuesday.

On Sunday, after hearing the players’ latest offer, which featured modest changes, MLB said it hoped to see more movement in its direction to reach a deal quickly and claimed the union had in fact backed down on some issues. .

“Put simply, we’re at an impasse,” MLB spokesman Glen Caplin said. “We will try to figure out how to react, but nothing in this proposal makes things easier.”

MLB responded on Monday, offering players progress on one of the biggest sticking points in these negotiations: luxury tax. Reluctant to raise the thresholds because they believe the numbers help preserve the competitive balance between clubs, the owners have offered to raise the first threshold by $8m from their previous offer to $228m. dollars in 2022, and $238 million in 2026 — the largest proposed deal-to-deal increases in baseball history.

The first threshold — the number of payrolls at which teams incur penalties — in 2021 was $210 million. Arguing that the thresholds have not increased at the same rate as income and that clubs are treating the luxury tax as a salary cap to limit spending, players have pushed for higher figures. On Sunday, players were asking for the first threshold to start at $238 million in 2022 and increase to $263 million in 2026.

Like all proposals, some olive branches to the other side came in a bundle of offers that act as a counterweight. For example: MLB’s offer to raise the thresholds on Monday was tied to other things players should weigh.

The last two collective agreements were seen as having tipped the balance of power and the economy even further in favor of the landlords. Realizing that major changes to the system would be tense and full of on the edge of the abyssthe union has spent years building a rainy day fund for this very fight against MLB owners, who ran an $11 billion-a-year business before the coronavirus pandemic.

While the owners believe players have a fair system with no strict salary caps, players have sought a range of changes, from improving competition to injecting more spending commensurate with club revenue for pay young players earlier in their career.

MLB has listened and offered ways to better compensate young players – such as an increased minimum wage and a new bonus pool for players who are not yet eligible for increases awarded in salary arbitration – and some new measures that could help curb some service time manipulations. or tanking, like a draft lottery.

To get there, the union has since dropped some of its biggest initial demands: giving players the ability to reach salary arbitration and free agency sooner. There have been compromises on expanding the playoffs. But entering Tuesday, other disagreements remained, such as the size of the bonus pool or the establishment of an international draft.

Tuesday, Apple announcement an agreement with MLB to exclusively air a double weekly schedule of games on Fridays throughout the season – a new source of revenue for owners as they negotiate with players.

If a deal cannot be reached and a full 162-game season cannot be postponed, it would be the first time games have been lost due to a work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike.

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Newsrust - US Top News: MLB lockdown: Another deadline set for game cancellations
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