Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association will hold their next bargaining session this Saturday, reports Evan Drellich of The Athletic. The quarterly owners’ meetings are taking place this week in Orlando. The players are holding their own meetings in Arizona and Florida.
The owners’ meetings conclude Thursday and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says MLB is planning to make a new core economics proposal soon thereafter. Saturday’s bargaining session will be fourth since the owners locked out the players immediately following the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1.
Last week the league requested assistance from a federal mediator, a request the MLBPA rejected, saying “the clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table.” The MLBPA is still awaiting a response to its last proposal, which was made Feb. 1. MLB told the MLBPA it is willing to sacrifice regular season games at a recent bargaining session. Opening Day is scheduled for Thursday, March 31.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to speak to reporters Thursday, at which point he could announce spring training will be delayed. Pitchers and catchers are due to report next week and the first spring games are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 26. Regular season games will soon be in jeopardy.
Among other things, the MLBPA is seeking more money for players early in their careers through a higher minimum salary and earlier arbitration-eligibility. The owners want to make further economic gains (i.e. redirect more money away from the players and into their pockets) after succeeding at exactly that the last few collective bargaining agreements.
At 70 days and counting, the lockout is the second longest work stoppage in baseball history behind the 1994-95 strike (232 days).