Late Monday, after a marathon bargaining session between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association that went till 2:30 a.m. ET, there was brave talk of optimism, that there could be a deal before MLB’s stated deadline of 5 p.m. ET Tuesday.
That’s not going to happen, and I want to make it clear to everyone here that not only is this all on ownership, but even the “optimism” of Monday was a ploy by owners to try to make themselves look like the good guys and then blame players if a deal failed.
There isn’t going to be a deal, not now. Here are some details:
BREAKING: MLB players reject best, final offer from owners. If owners and commissioner Rob Manfred now follow through on their stated threat, Opening Day 2022 will be delayed, and some number of games in the regular season canceled. Players contingent is leaving Florida.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
It’s unclear right now when the sides will start negotiating again. Bruce Meyer called Dan Halem to deliver the news that players had rejected the league’s last offer of the day and deadline. Around 30-40 players were on call just now deciding what to do.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
Now, if you don’t believe me regarding the owners being at fault here, I’m going to go ahead and post another tweet. Yes, I get it, some of you don’t care for tweets filling up these articles, but this one sums up the last three months quite well:
*MLB imposes lockout— Ryan Lewis (@ByRyanLewis) March 1, 2022
*MLB waits 40+ days to make 1st offer
*MLB sets up arbitrary "deadline" to save Opening Day
*MLB gives impression a deal is close, raising hopes
*MLB says MLBPA tone has changed, tries to put all onus on players (via public perception) to save Opening Day.
There is no denying that’s exactly what happened. Any attempt to spin otherwise is false. It does appear that MLB used some national writers late last night to push the idea that a deal was close, then use that “tone has changed” to try to blame players. Like so:
Main takeaway from MLBPA declarations on last night's misplaced optimism? A whole lot of media folks were only too ready to repeat owners' spin & call it news, w/o recognizing that by regurgitating a constructed narrative uncritically, they become themselves actors in the drama.— Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl) March 1, 2022
And if you don’t believe writers on that, how about this directly from Giants pitcher Alex Wood?
FWIW MLB has pumped to the media last night & today that there’s momentum toward a deal. Now saying the players tone has changed. So if a deal isn’t done today it’s our fault. This isn’t a coincidence. We’ve had the same tone all along. We just want a fair deal/to play ball.— Alex Wood (@Awood45) March 1, 2022
The last 24hrs I’d say there was cautious optimism on the players side because the owners were actually at the table negotiating with us toward a deal. What we’re asking is more than fair. If there’s no deal the optimism from MLB was a PR illusion to make it look like they tried.— Alex Wood (@Awood45) March 1, 2022
And White Sox catcher James McCann:
Ahh yes. “The Union has struck a different note today.” Of course.— James McCann (@McCannon33) March 1, 2022
Just another tactic trying to control the narrative. Same thing we have already seen over and over. Nothing new here. https://t.co/UYBCQqbQM4
Here is MLB’s “last, best offer”:
MLB’s best, final offer before pulling down games, per MLBPA official:— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 1, 2022
• Pre-arb bonus pool of $30 million, up $5 million from before
• No change on CBT thresholds (220/220/220/224/230)
• Minimum salary starting at $700k, going to $740k over course of deal. PA starts $725k
While some of this was good on MLB’s part, some of the numbers — particularly in the bonus pool and on CBT thresholds — were far from what the MLBPA wanted. In fact, if MLB had accepted the players’ final offer, it would have been a big win for owners. Instead, they stuck to their guns. Remember that there are going to be — or possibly delayed now — announcements of TV deals from NBC and/or Apple for midweek broadcasts that could add up to $350 million per year for MLB. Revenue is spiking throughout baseball and all owners are saying is, “We want to keep it.”
Don’t believe me? Here’s a chart that should show you:
Regarding “last, best offer,” here is something you need to know:
What to watch for: Any MLB declaration of a “last, best offer.” That is a precursor to declaring an impasse and trying to implement that offer - and such a move could mean the lockout moves from negotiation rooms to the courts and to the NLRB.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 1, 2022
In the end, that’s what eventually ended the strike in 1995. Owners implemented an offer and declared an impasse. Players then went to court — I’m simplifying here, here are more details — and eventually an order by Judge Sonya Sotomayor (now a Supreme Court justice) ended the strike at the end of March 1995.
This didn’t have to happen. Baseball is flush with money. Owners could have shared more. They chose not to. We the fans are the losers, and where this goes, I am honestly not sure. It’s going to take me some time to process all of this and put together an honest opinion, and that might take till tomorrow. Again, sorry for all the tweets but that puts the most accurate information in front of you with some immediacy.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is scheduled to have a news conference at 4 p.m. CT, shortly after this article is posted. I assume at that time there will be details on game cancellations. I’ll post another article when there’s more information.
Today is a sad day for baseball.
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