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MLBPA rejects ‘best’ offer from MLB, regular season games canceled

The Rockies’ first two series of the regular season will not be played as scheduled

Following a week of negotiations leading up to MLB’s self-imposed deadline to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the MLBPA has unanimously rejected MLB’s ‘best’ offer, effectively putting a new cloud of uncertainty over the 2022 season. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced during his Tuesday press conference that the first two series of regular season games will be canceled.

The two sides had been meeting daily leading up to Tuesday’s deadline with little momentum towards a deal happening on certain topics such as the CBT threshold and pre-arbitration bonus pool, both primarily from the owners' side.

Hopes were high after a marathon of meetings late into the evening on Monday and into the early hours of Tuesday, but things quickly dissolved as the sides reached a deadlock on Tuesday afternoon, resulting in the players' contingent leaving Jupiter, Florida.

During his press conference, Manfred said, “The most unfortunate thing is the agreement we’ve offered to our players, offered huge benefits for our fans and for our players.”

MLB’s proposal included some of the following:

  • $700K minimum salary with an increase of $10K each season (up to $740K)
  • CBT Thresholds for 2022-26: $220M, $220M, $220M, $224M, $230M
  • $30M Pre-Arbitration bonus pool
  • 12-team expanded postseason
  • 5-Pick Draft Lottery

MLB’s offer showed disparity from what the MLBPA was seeking. MLB’s ending point for the CBT was lower than the MLBPA’s starting point of $238M. The union also lowered their ask on the pre-arbitration pool to $85M, while seeking a minimum salary of $725K. The MLBPA continued to come down from many of their initial proposals, while MLB and the owners showed resistance to massive change, continuing to state that, “the last five years were difficult from a revenue perspective.”

The lockout began on December 1, 2021, in what Manfred referred to as a “defensive lockout” with the hope that it would jumpstart negotiations. It took 43 days before MLB made their first proposal to the MLBPA. When asked why it took so long, Manfred responded during his Tuesday press conference: “We’ve been here for the last 10 days. That’s all I can say.”

MLB spring training games are canceled until further notice, while minor leaguers who are not on the 40-man roster can participate in team camps in Arizona and Florida. No further meetings are currently scheduled between the two sides, with the earliest possible meeting coming Thursday.

Following MLB’s announcement of the cancellation of games, the MLBPA released its own statement, reaffirming their resolve as a group to reach a fair deal:

During their own press conference, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark stated that “there is work to do” and remains committed to getting a deal done as soon as possible, while also stating that topics of the CBA negotiations should have been and could have been discussed earlier than they were.

In terms of missing games and for how long the lockout may continue, player rep Andrew Miller stated, “We’re prepared. We’ve seen this coming in a sense. It’s unfortunate. This is not new to us. It's not shocking.”

Bruce Meyer, the lead negotiator for the MLBA, added that the union’s position is to seek full pay for 162 games if they reach an agreement for a full schedule, despite MLB’s decision to cancel games, citing the precedent that MLB had made a proposal in 2021 to delay the season by month, but still pay the players for a full 162 games.

The Rockies were set to open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. If the season resumed on schedule, the Rockies would open at home against the Dodgers on April 8th.

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Purple Row will update this story as more details become available.