MLB Cancels Opening Day, More After Owners, Players Can’t Reach Deal

March 2, 2022 by Dan McCue
<strong>MLB Cancels Opening Day, More After Owners, Players Can’t Reach Deal</strong>
Baseball fan Noah McMurrain of Boynton Beach, Fla., stands outside Roger Dean Stadium as Major League Baseball negotiations continue in an attempt to reach an agreement to salvage a March 31 start to the regular season, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

JUPITER, Fla. — Major League Baseball and its players’ union failed to reach a new labor deal by an MLB-imposed Tuesday deadline, prompting baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to announce the cancellation of Opening Day and an unspecified number of regular season games.

The grim announcement came after the MLB Players Association rejected the owners’ latest offer Tuesday. 

Talks will resume Thursday, Manfred said.

Team owners and league officials have been discussing the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association all this week at the St. Louis Cardinals’ spring training complex, Roger Dean Stadium, in Jupiter, Florida.

MLB owners had originally set a deal deadline of Monday, but they extended it to 5 p.m. Tuesday after both sides conceded some progress toward a deal was being made. 

The two sides have been at loggerheads ever since a lockout by the owners in December 2021.

Throughout the negotiations, the players’ representatives have repeatedly cautioned that significant differences remained in key economic areas, and MLB’s proposal did not close that gap in their eyes.

What was on the table? According to the Associated Press:

  • MLB proposed raising the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $220 million in each of the next three seasons, $224 million in 2025 and $230 in 2026 — unchanged from its prior offer. Players asked for $238 million this year, $244 million in 2023, $250 million in 2024, $256 million in 2025 and $263 in 2026.
  • MLB increased its offer for a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players from $25 million to $30 million, and the union dropped from $115 million to $85 million for this year, with $5 million in yearly increases.
  • MLB proposed raising the minimum salary from $570,500 to $700,000 this year, up from its previous offer of $675,000, and included increases of $10,000 annually. The union asked for $725,000 this year, $745,000 in 2023, $765,000 in 2024 and increases for 2025 and 2026 based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners.
  • MLB offered to have the five top picks in the amateur draft determined by a lottery.
  • MLB would expand the postseason to 12 teams, the figure the union prefers to management’s original request for 14.

“We thought there was a path to a deal last night and that both sides were closing in on the major issues,” said an MLB official, speaking on background.

“The MLBPA had a decidedly different tone today and made proposals inconsistent with the prior discussions,” he said.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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