Lockout Rumors: MLB Doubles Down On Feb. 28 Deadline, Threaten Game Cancellations
Rob Manfred2
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Prior to this week’s string of daily CBA negotiations in Jupiter, Florida, MLB set a Feb. 28 deadline to have an agreement. For the league, this stemmed from a belief that the regular season could not start on time if a deal was not agreed to by that date.

However, the Players Association did not view things the same way. Instead, they took this Feb. 28 deadline as more of a soft threat, concluding that the 2022 regular season could still begin on time if a deal was agreed to in the first few days of March.

Once rumors of the Players Association’s nonchalance surrounding this deadline became public, MLB responded with a much harsher threat. In turn, they made it clear that if a CBA is not agreed to by Feb. 28, games will be cancelled and players will not be paid for those games, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

“A deadline is a deadline,” an MLB spokesperson said Wednesday evening outside of Roger Dean Stadium. “Missed games are missed games. Salary will not be paid for those games.”

As it has gone throughout the entire negotiation process, the union claimed this to be a new message, responding with a threat of their own if games are cancelled.

The players considered the league’s emphasis on missed salary and the insistence that games would not be rescheduled, as doubleheaders or otherwise, to be a new element of the owners’ message, a source said.

Meanwhile, over the last few weeks, the players have told the league at several points that if games are indeed canceled, then they will not grant owners an expanded postseason — an element worth at least $100 million annually, industry sources estimate.

Holding an expanded postseason threat over the owners’ heads may be as effective as the threat of cancelling games. For both sides, going down this path of events would cause a great financial loss. Given the amount of money already at stake, it seems silly to lose more money over petty threats.

The two sides plan to continue meeting every day until that Feb. 28 deadline. However, with how things stand as of Feb. 24, it would be almost miraculous to see a deal come together in just five days of negotiation.

Feb. 23 CBA update

Feb. 23’s bargaining sessions came with even less progress than the two days prior. On Wednesday, it was MLB’s turn to make a compromise, leading them to do so in only one area: minimum salaries.

MLB proposed a starting minimum salary of $640K with subsequent raises in each year of the deal. This is only $10K higher than their most recent offer, and still $135K below the union’s most recent offer of $775K with raises each year.

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