MLB Says Only Days Remain to Salvage Full Season

'A deadline is a deadline. Missed games are missed games'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 24, 2022 2:44 AM CST
MLB Says Season Will Be Shortened if There's No Deal Soon
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo arrives for baseball contract negotiations at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.   (Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via AP)

Major League Baseball said Wednesday that only five days remain to salvage March 31 openers and a full season, telling locked out players that games would be canceled if a labor contract is not agreed to by the end of Monday. After the third straight day of negotiations with little movement, MLB went public with what it had told the union on Feb. 12. "A deadline is a deadline. Missed games are missed games. Salary will not be paid for those games," an MLB spokesman said after Wednesday's bargaining ended. Players have not accepted Monday as a deadline and have suggested any missed games could be made up as part of doubleheaders, a method MLB said it will not agree to, reports the AP.

The union told MLB if games are missed and salaries are lost, clubs should not expect players to agree to management's proposals to expand the postseason and to allow advertisements on uniforms and helmets. Bargaining is scheduled to continue Thursday, and both sides said they are prepared to meet through Monday. A shortened season would be baseball's second in three years following a 2020 schedule cut from 162 games to 60 because of the pandemic. Spring training workouts had been scheduled to start on Feb. 16, and MLB has already canceled the first week of exhibitions, which were to begin Friday. Wednesday was the 84th day of the league's first work stoppage since 1995.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said on Feb. 10 a minimum of four weeks of training are needed before starting the season. A deal by Monday would allow that plus a few days for players to report to camps in Arizona and Florida. MLB's public statement was interpreted as a pressure tactic by the union. "To get bears in the forest, you can’t offer them bear traps," said Scott Boras, agent for five of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee. A day after the union made only small moves in response to management's incremental proposal of a day earlier, MLB advanced only one change: Teams offered to increase the minimum salary from $570,500 to $640,000, up from their previous proposal of $630,000. The minimum would increase by an additional $10,000 each season during a five-year agreement. Players have asked for $775,000 in 2022 and additional $30,000 jumps in each succeeding season. (More Major League Baseball stories.)

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