MLB lockout: Rob Manfred cancels regular season games after owners, MLBPA fail to reach deal

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

Manfred said the first two series of the 2022 season will not be played as scheduled. Opening Day was originally scheduled for March 31.

“I had hoped against hope I wouldn’t have to have this press conference where I am going to cancel some regular season games,” Manfred said Tuesday afternoon. “We worked hard to avoid an outcome that’s bad for our fans, bad for our players and bad for our clubs. Our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party.”

The next step is uncertain. Manfred said the sides will regroup at some point and continue negotiations in New York.

Representatives from both sides arrived on site in Jupiter, Florida, around 10 am ET on Tuesday and met face-to-face for the first time around 1:30 pm after the players had a conference call to discuss their proposal, per The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. Although optimism prevailed following Monday’s marathon 16-hour bargaining session, Tuesday occasioned a step back, at least to hear league sources tell it. The union side, however, pushed back against that characterization of Tuesday morning’s events:

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The two sides appear to be the farthest apart on what the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) on payrolls will look like moving forward. The CBT, which has come to function like a salary cap of sorts, has in the past mandated penalties for teams that cross certain payroll levels. The union would of course prefer those levels to be much higher than what the league is proposing.

That, however, is not the only substantive issue that needs to be resolved. There’s still a divide when it comes to the minimum salary and the size of a theoretical bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. While everything is still fluid on all fronts until an agreement is reached, a 12-team playoff does seem likely moving forward.

To repeat, sizable gaps on multiple fronts remain.

MLB had originally created a Monday (Feb. 28) deadline to reach an agreement before canceling regular-season games and postponing 2022 Opening Day. CBS Sports has provided a timeline of the lockout here, but the short version is that the owners placed the padlocks on when the previous CBA expired on Dec. 1 – exactly three months ago. They were under no obligation to do so, but it was labeled as a defensive maneuver. The league then waited more than six weeks to make its first proposal. The two sides have since had a number of in-person negotiations.

CBS Sports is providing live updates of Tuesday’s talks. You can follow along below.

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