For the first time since the lockout began in December of 2021, MLB and the Players Association met on back-to-back days. This brought fans hope that there would finally be some form of significant progress in Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.
Instead, the two meetings revealed that MLB and the Players Association might be even farther apart than originally thought. Almost nothing substantial came about on Monday or Tuesday, and it becomes increasingly likely every day that pitchers and catcher will not be reporting in mid-February.
The biggest sign of progress from this week has been what both sides have reportedly agreed to drop from their arguments altogether. While not a massive step, it did show what is most important to each side, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
The benefit of the last two days was on the margins. The Players Association on Monday withdrew a proposal that was likely always going to be withdrawn at some point: one that would have allowed some players to get to free agency sooner than the standard six years. On Tuesday, the league withdrew proposals that would have eliminated the salary arbitration process for players who already have a right to go through it, people with knowledge of the talks said. Those proposals, too, were never going to go anywhere.
On one hand, fans may balk at the fact that the only sign of progress was both sides giving up on proposals that were never going to pass anyways. It’s a fair viewpoint to have considering we are now less than four weeks away from cutting into the 2022 MLB season.
However, MLB and the Players Association waving the white flag on these proposals might finally mean they are ready to talk seriously about getting a deal done. Removing roadblocks like this could be the first step towards real progress.
There are no scheduled meetings between the two sides at this time, but reports suggest it won’t be later than the end of next week.
MLB Deputy Commissioner willing to miss games
Reportedly, MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem stated his willingness to miss games amid a lack of progress in CBA talks. This was the first time that anyone has openly stated — according to reports — that games could be missed.