MLB lockdown: Rob Manfred cancels regular season games after owners and MLBPA fail to reach agreement

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After an extension of Monday’s informal deadline, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement on Tuesday that would end the owner-imposed lockout. MLB, which on Tuesday set a 5 p.m. ET deadline for a deal, made what it called its “final” offer Tuesday afternoon, which was unanimously rejected by the union. Shortly after, commissioner Rob Manfred announced at a press conference that regular season games would be canceled.

Manfred said the first two series of the 2022 season will not play out as planned. Opening day was originally scheduled for March 31.

“I had hoped against hope that I wouldn’t have to have this press conference where I’m going to cancel some regular season games,” Manfred said Tuesday afternoon. “We worked hard to avoid a result that was bad for our fans, bad for our players and bad for our clubs. Our inability to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort on the part of either the other of the parties.”

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of the lockdown, and the next step is uncertain. Manfred said the parties would regroup at some point and continue negotiations in New York.

Representatives from both parties arrived onsite in Jupiter, Florida around 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday and met in person for the first time around 1:30 p.m. after the players had a conference call to discuss their proposal, by Evan Drellich of The Athletic. Although optimism prevailed after Monday’s marathon 4pm trading session, Tuesday brought a setback.

The two sides appear to be furthest apart on what the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) on payrolls will look like in the future. The CBT, which has come to operate as a sort of salary cap, has in the past imposed penalties on teams that breach certain payroll levels. The union would of course prefer these levels be much higher than what the league offers.

However, this is not the only substantive issue that needs to be resolved. There is still a gap when it comes to minimum wage and the size of a theoretical bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. While everything is still fluid on all fronts until a deal is struck, a 12-team playoff appears to be moving forward.

MLB originally created a Monday (February 28) deadline to reach an agreement before canceling regular season games and postponing the 2022 Opening Day. CBS Sports provided a timeline of the lockdown here, but the short version is that the owners placed the padlocks when the previous CBA expired on December 1 – exactly three months ago. They weren’t required to do this, but it was called a defensive maneuver. The league then waited more than six weeks to make its first proposal.

CBS Sports provides live updates from Tuesday’s talks. You can follow below.

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