Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday it would be ‘disastrous’ if the lockout results in lost games for the 2022 regular season, but is optimistic a new labor agreement will be reached. in time to avoid this scenario. MLB players have been locked out since early December and the March 31 start day for the 162-game regular season could be in jeopardy unless meaningful progress is made toward an agreement on new collective bargaining.
“If I hadn’t thought about what it would mean to miss games, obviously I wouldn’t be doing my job. I care about that,” Manfred told reporters at the owners’ meeting in Orlando, Florida. “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.”
Among the issues in the current dispute, owners and players disagree on service time to free agency, playoff expansion, a luxury tax and possible salary floor, and several rule changes proposed. The lockout is MLB’s first work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike, a dispute that forced the premature end of a season, delayed the start of the following year’s campaign and extinguished the fans, with attendance dropping when play finally resumed.
Spring training camps are set to open next week in Arizona and Florida with exhibition games starting Feb. 26. Manfred, who had not addressed the lockdown since the conflict began, said four weeks of training would be best. After an 11-day hiatus, MLB will meet with representatives of the MLB Players Association on Saturday in New York, where Manfred said the league would put forward what he described as a “good faith” proposal in an effort to move forward. the process.
“The status of spring training has not changed at this time,” Manfred said. “We’re going to have a conversation with the MLBPA about the schedule, we understand where the schedule is. But until we have that conversation, and until we see how this Saturday session goes, it there is no change.”
After a series of unsuccessful talks, the owners sought the help of a federal mediator to help resolve the lockout, but the MLBPA rejected the idea, saying the best way to resolve the dispute is to return to the negotiation table. Manfred called the latest proposal positive and hopes it will lead to a resolution.
“I’m an optimist. I believe we’ll get a deal in time to play our regular season schedule,” Manfred said.
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