Major League Baseball has officially cancelled the second week of the season because talks with player’s union failed to produce a collective bargaining agreement. The league said in a statement that “the parties are still far apart” and they hope to continue negotiations before resuming play on April 27th, 2018.
Major League Baseball has cancelled the second week of the season after discussions with players union failed to produce a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league and union are scheduled to meet again on Friday. Read more in detail here: when does the mlb season start.
7:08 p.m. Eastern
ESPN’s Jeff Passan
- MLB insider on ESPN
- Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity,” “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity”
After days of talks with the MLB Players Association failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement, Major League Baseball postponed the second week of the regular season on Wednesday.
The international draft, which had been a lengthy part of the discussions but had not been a significant issue until lately, halted talks on Wednesday afternoon. The league had suggested attaching an international draft that would include amateurs from Latin America and Asia to the elimination of direct draft-pick compensation, which penalizes clubs for signing elite free players, only a day before.
Players were opposed to the notion, rejected league suggestions to address it, and responded with a counter-offer. After that, the league canceled another week’s worth of games.
The ramifications might be massive. This week, the league reached an agreement to play a 162-game season with full compensation and service time for players. If the league refuses to agree to full compensation and service time, the MLBPA has said that expanded playoffs, which are a fundamental component of a new basic agreement for MLB, would be removed from its proposal. With the parties already unable to reach an agreement on basic economic concerns, the possible elimination of a crucial gain for the league and an extra item to fight for the union — full service time is critical — would complicate the already tense talks.
According to reports, the situation deteriorated on the 98th day of the MLB lockout.
Talks on the international draft dragged on into the early hours of Wednesday before starting up again the next morning. Players protested at the international draft, despite the fact that financial differences had been closed sufficiently to put an agreement within reach. A big component of the rank-and-file from Latin America opposes it, and player leadership, according to sources, is irritated by what it perceives to be the league’s late presentation of it as a major issue.
MLB provided a trio of alternatives to players on Wednesday afternoon, according to sources, and indicated it would not discuss on additional matters until the union picked one of the paths:
One: Investigate an international draft, and if the union rejects it by Nov. 15, 2022, revisit the whole collective-bargaining agreement after the 2024 season; moreover, eliminate direct draft-pick pay.
Two, get rid of the international draft and keep the direct draft-pick compensation.
Three, in return for the elimination of direct draft-pick compensation, implement the international draft in 2024.
According to reports, the union rejected the proposals and retaliated by requesting the withdrawal of direct draft-pick compensation in 2022 while the parties analyze the draft. They recommended that if the players reject it, the present international system would stay in place and draft-pick compensation would be reinstated after the 2022-23 offseason.
“The decision by the owners to cancel further games was entirely needless. Players have yet to hear back from the league despite submitting a series of thorough suggestions earlier this afternoon and being informed that substantial comments will be forthcoming “In a statement released on Wednesday, the union claimed. “Players want to play, and we can’t wait to return to the pitch in front of the world’s greatest fans. Our primary focus continues to be the completion of a fair deal for all players, and we will continue to negotiate in that direction.”
Failure to strike an agreement If the parties do not re-engage and reach an agreement by Wednesday, there might be serious repercussions. Players who reach wage arbitration after three full years in the big leagues and free agency after six are particularly concerned about service time. If a player spends 172 days on a big league roster, they gain a complete year of service. A season normally lasts 186 days, and if more than two weeks are canceled, recouping service time will be part of any subsequent discussions.
If the two sides had reached an agreement on Wednesday, the game’s second-longest labor stoppage would have ended, and some sort of normality would have returned following months of tense discussions. Baseball is now in its most difficult situation ever, with fresh challenges to overcome as the game tries to regain its footing amid a growing number of disgruntled fans.
Baseball’s underlying economics had been front and center in labor discussions prior to the league attaching the international draft to direct draft-pick compensation on Tuesday. The minimum salary governing players with less than three years of major league service, as well as a bonus pool worth tens of millions of dollars that will be distributed among those younger players who have yet to reach arbitration, are key items in addition to the CBT and the penalties assigned to teams that exceed it.
MLB has pushed for a playoffs with more than 10 participants, and both sides have shown readiness to accept a 12-team format, while the league prefers 14. In addition, as part of its package deal, the union has agreed to allow advertising on player uniforms for the first time, including patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.
A 45-day window for MLB to implement rule changes in the 2023 season, including a pitch clock, a ban on defensive shifts, and larger bases; the National League adopting the designated hitter; a six-team draft lottery to discourage tanking; draft-pick inducements to discourage service-time manipulation; and limiting the number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season to five
The international draft, which MLB has been pursuing for over a decade, would start in 2024. The league would group clubs into pods of seven or eight and alternate draft places every four years to ensure that each team has access to top amateur talent. According to the league, the draft method would provide more money for foreign players than the existing system, which allows international amateurs to join with any club.
Currently, athletes must be 16 years old to join organizations, yet teams often sign multimillion-dollar contracts with youngsters as young as 12 and 13. Early signings, cash bribes, and trainers supplying performance-enhancing drugs to young boys are among the concerns that MLB thinks a draft would address in the foreign market.
Last year, talks on a new fundamental agreement started slowly, building up to the expiry of the existing version on December 1st. The league and the union had made little headway in the months leading up to the lockout, which was announced shortly after midnight on December 2 by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. The result was a 43-day stalemate in discussions, and by the time spring training began in mid-February, the financial disparities between the parties had become large enough that the risk of losing regular-season games had increased.
Manfred’s suspension of Opening Day a week ago enraged players, who were hoping to make major income gains beyond 2022 following a 2016 deal that resulted in severe economic implications. Despite rising earnings that peaked at $10.7 billion in 2019, player wages have decreased over the last four seasons. The almost quadrupling of franchise valuations over the last two basic agreements became a rallying cry for players.
Simultaneously, the league, pleased with the present economic framework, has resisted the substantial gains that players had anticipated to achieve. While the game’s uncapped design enables clubs to spend less on older players to offset the increased expenditures, the potential guarantees for younger players are approximately $100 million.