Deadline Looms as MLB Players, Owners Seek Labor Agreement

In terms of reaching a labor agreement, think of it as the bottom of the ninth inning.

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association met for six hours Sunday but failed to reach a deal, according to multiple reports. The sides will meet again Monday morning in hopes of an agreement ahead of the league’s deadline to salvage Opening Day for March 31.

If a deal is not reached by the end of Monday, MLB has indicated that it will cancel games starting with the season opener and cut into its 162-game slate.

Although Sunday’s extended negotiations were perceived as positive, the players and owners reportedly are far apart on multiple issues including minimum salaries, the competitive balance tax, expanding Super-2 arbitration eligibility, revenue sharing, expanded playoffs and a bonus pool for pre-arbitration players.

It was a “productive meeting” from MLB’s perspective, USA Today reported, but players were not as positive. Union officials said both sides remained “very far apart” on key hurdles to complete the negotiation process and shift the focus toward the season.

Other reports indicated a similar feeling of part-optimism, part-pessimism.

“There was some sense of productivity today, but the gap on key issues remains large,” Evan Drelich of The Athletic wrote on Twitter. “Tomorrow on deadline day, they’re meeting earlier in the day than they had yet. Notable: no one suggested Sunday brought significant momentum, or a breakthrough. So, temper the urge to be excited.”

© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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