MAJOR League Baseball (MLB) canceled the second week of the regular season on Wednesday after MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) failed to reach a deal on a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The cancellation of two more series means Opening Day will be pushed back until April 14, at the earliest. The 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league debut is April 15.
MLB, which locked out the players on Dec. 2 and announced on March 1 that the first two series of the season were canceled, gave the union a deadline of Wednesday night to decide on one of three options regarding the international draft. Meanwhile, the MLBPA was waiting on a full counteroffer from MLB on an offer from the players earlier in the day, something the league said it would do only if the union chose one of the three options.
“The owners’ decision to cancel additional games was completely unnecessary,” the MLBPA said in a statement. “After making a set of comprehensive proposals to the league earlier this afternoon and being told substantive responses were forthcoming, players have yet to hear back.
“Our top priority remains the finalization of a fair contract for all players, and we will continue negotiations toward that end.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he announced the latest cancellations reluctantly.
“Regrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal,” Manfred said in a statement. “I am saddened by this situation’s continued impact on our game and all those who are a part of it, especially our loyal fans.”
The sides reportedly got closer on the luxury tax, down to $12 million apart in Year 5, but are still far apart on the bonus pool.
The international draft and which side originally proposed it during talks in Jupiter, FL, reportedly dominated talks on Wednesday. However, an international draft is a non-starter for Latin players, per The Athletic.
MLB reportedly gave the union three options:
1. Agree to eliminate draft-pick compensation and examine an international draft.
2. Give MLB the option to reopen the CBA in three years if the union won’t agree to a draft.
3. Agree to an international draft and elimination of draft-pick compensation.
The lockout will reach 100 days on Friday. — Reuters