CBA negotiations have gone off the rails since the league requested a federal mediator on Thursday. The MLBPA declined the league’s request on Friday in a statement, expressing their frustration with MLB’s proposals and the players’ desire to continue (to attempt) to negotiate in good faith.
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
Throughout the day Friday, players took to Twitter to further convey their disappointment and their desire to get a deal finalized. New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer, also one of the leade player representatives for the MLBPA, provided additional insight into the players’ requests:
We don’t need mediation because what we are offering to MLB is fair for both sides:— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy.— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
Several other players, including Whit Merrifield (Royals), Mitch Haniger (Mariners), and Matt Barnes (Red Sox), concentrated on the lack of actual bargaining that has taken place, and wanting all clubs to be competitive. How absolutely PREPOSTEROUS of players (and fans!) to want their teams to win. It’s understandable for the players to be upset at this point, considering MLB waited more than a month to initiate meetings and have yet to even consider any sort of concession to move the process along.
The league released a subsequent statement Friday afternoon to respond to the MLBPA — a publicity stunt that attempted to blame the players as the party that will be responsible for a delay to spring training or Opening Day. The most amazing part about this response is that there never needed to be a lockout in the first place, and the league could literally end it tomorrow. MLB, and their self-imposed lockout, are the only things keeping spring training and Opening Day from beginning on time.
In their statement, the league claims they are “committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement,” which is ironic seeing as they neglected to provide a counterproposal this week as originally agreed upon.
The full statement from an MLB spokesperson:
“Our goal is to have players on the field and fans in the ballparks for spring training and Opening Day. With camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock. It is clear the most productive path forward would be the involvement of an impartial third party to help bridge gaps and facilitate an agreement.
“It is hard to understand why a party that wants to make an agreement would reject mediation from the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes, including many successes in professional sports. MLB remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides.”
It will be interesting to see what comes next in the bargaining process, especially as we are less than two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. With the owners continuing to play hardball, it’s currently not looking great for the season to begin on March 31, and we might just be stuck with a shortened season.
Fans are rightfully upset at the possibility of yet another shortened season. Especially us White Sox fans, who have been longing for a team to put us back in World Series contention, eager for more after a division title and the legendary ALDS Game 3 blackout game.
All we can do is manifest some sort of miracle that we get baseball by April and preserve as much of the 2022 season as possible.