Update: Manfred did not announce a delay and maintained that there are no changes to spring dates as of yet. That’s certainly a welcome surprise and may indicate that the league’s upcoming proposal will represent a significant shift toward the players’ side.
The commissioner also said the two sides have agreed to the universal DH moving forward, so that is at least a small sign of progress.
Rob Manfred: "We have agreed to a universal designated hitter." One of items he is listing in making case current MLB proposal is better than previous CBA.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 10, 2022
Rob Manfred will address the media Thursday at the conclusion of the Owners Meetings in Orlando, at which time he is expected to announce that the start of spring training will be delayed. With just five days until official report dates and no agreement in sight, there simply isn’t enough time to get things organized according to the original schedule. To that end, the owners are not even planning to make their next core economics proposal until Saturday.
MLB is planning to make a new proposal following the owners meeting which ends tomorrow. It is expected to involve core economic issues, and hope remains that it could trigger something to get a deal done on time for the regular season to begin as scheduled, or close.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 10, 2022
That’s more than a week after they went back on their word and requested the help of a federal mediator rather than making a proposal last week. The players union rejected that offer and here we are a week later with no progress. Not that such a stalemate should come as a surprise when the league waited over six weeks to make its initial proposal following the implementation of a lockout.
“This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive,” Manfred said the morning after the old CBA had expired. “It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.”
Imagine having the temerity to accuse one side of being unwilling to compromise or collaborate and then waiting 43 days to make a proposal. Manfred is just walking around naked like that fabled emperor, relying only on his pomposity to cover himself. Hence, he keeps showing his ass with these transparent tactics and talking points that are only fooling those whose heads are bowed from carrying water.
I’ll be shocked if this latest press conference doesn’t include yet another shot across the bow of the players union because that’s how Manfred and the owners operate. However, I won’t be gobsmacked if the next proposal actually includes some meaningful concessions from the league. We’ve already reached the point of altering the schedule, the Super Bowl is this weekend, and the players’ position is incredibly reasonable.
Were they to simply take a small step toward the middle, the owners would ensure that only a week or so of spring training is lost while also getting their wish of a wild run of free agency just as football has wrapped up.