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MLB puts spring camps on hold and misses opener

Rob Manfred, the Baseball Commissioner, says that losing regular-season games due to a work stoppage is a "disastrous outcome." However spring training continues to be suspended as the threat of opening day grows.

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MLB puts spring camps on hold and misses opener

Manfred stated that teams will present a "good-faith and positive proposal" to the players' union in an effort to speed up the process after the longest work stoppage in baseball history. This will be the fifth session of economic bargaining since the expiration of the five-year labor agreement.

Two people at the meeting said that MLB was planning to move in the direction of the union. Because Manfred didn't discuss specific details of the proposal, the people spoke under condition of anonymity.

Manfred stated that he is an optimist and believes we will reach an agreement in the shortest time possible to play our regular program. This was after three days of meetings. "I see missing games being a disaster for this industry and we are committed to making an arrangement in an effort to prevent that."

The spring training sessions were scheduled to begin on February 16. The opening day is March 31.

Manfred stated that spring training's status is unchanged. "We will have a discussion with the MLBPA regarding the calendar. Although we understand the location of the calendar, until that conversation takes place and we see how Saturday's session goes, there is no way to change it.

Three weeks of training are required after an agreement has been reached.

Manfred stated that "we thought, 20, 21 day, whatever we had for 2020 was a problem" in reference to the pandemic-shortened timeline. The injury data supports this idea. We would like to be 28. I try not to be too hard or fast. We think it makes more sense to us to take four weeks.

Additional days are required to get ready for workouts.

Manfred stated that there are logistics that must be taken between the signing of an agreement and opening the camps. The most important is getting the players to where they need to go. They must ratify, and we have to agree to it. We won't allow the camps to open until that's done. Both of these activities can be done simultaneously. It takes a few days. You should be able it all in a few days.

Manfred confirmed that players were not being tested for steroids after the lockout.

He stated that "our legal authority to conduct drugs tests has expired with the expired contract." It's a matter of concern. It's a topic of concern for labor disputes. Another one is caused by the dispute."

Manfred stated that the teams will not use minor league players to play exhibition games in major leagues.

Tony Clark, a former All-Star first baseman, is leading the players' fury over a decrease in payrolls since the previous contract. They claim that there has been a lack competition from some teams, and they also accuse Clark of service-time manipulation.

The union proposed that rookies could accrue service time for awards and special accomplishments. It also suggested a draft lottery. This would expand arbitration eligibility to levels before 1986, and decrease revenue sharing.

MLB claims it will not increase arbitrator eligibility or reduce revenue sharing

Both sides are divided on minimum salaries, the size of a draft lotto and luxury tax thresholds. MLB would raise tax rates. Manfred claimed he misspoke at the news conference, when he stated that they were the same in his proposal.

Both sides would create a bonus pool to pre-arbitration players, but they differ greatly on the amount.

The MLB plans to increase the number of playoff teams from 10 to 14, while the union offers 12.

Manfred stated that MLB had agreed to increase the designated hitter to National League and to eliminate draft pick compensation for free agents. This issue led to a 50-day strike in 1981.

Based on the minimum salary and the bonus pool. Manfred stated that players would be able to receive more over the five year term of a contract "in the hundreds and millions of dollars", plus additional value due to DH expansion or elimination of agent compensation.

Manfred stated that he had a proposal for an agreement that was better than the current contract in all respects. "In all, the proposals that we have made would move this agreement decisively in the direction of the players." The clubs are still unwilling to make any moves in response to proposals from players that we feel will compromise the competitive balance of our game.

MLB asked last week for a federal mediator to join the talks. The union declined the request.

Manfred has been vilified by some players.

He said, "What someone says on social media really does not affect my thinking." "It is my responsibility to do all I can to reach an agreement that the industry can agree to and keep the game alive, and we are doing that."

Blum reported from New York.


 

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