New York Yankees/MLB News: Texas Rangers and Houston Astros series canceled, no CBA reached

Many thought it would end like this, and it has, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement could not be reached. The result is that MLB has canceled the first two series of the new season. The New York Yankees will miss the season opener with the Texas Rangers and the series with the Houston Astros. Next up would be the home opener with the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium and the series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

What is even more discouraging is that as of this morning, there are no new talks scheduled to resolve the situation, which may lead to even more canceled games.

What is most sad is that neither the owners nor players seem to care about the fans that are eager to see baseball games played across the country after a long postseason with any games to watch. Why? Because both sides could not solve greed problems, both wanted more money.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan has reported:

“The concerns of our fans are at the very top of our consideration list.” — Rob Manfred, on the day MLB canceled regular-season games, during a league-initiated lockout. He also reported: MLB has canceled the first two series of the season.”

After the MLB owners and the players’ union failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, by M.L.B.’s self-imposed deadline Tuesday evening, Commissioner Rob Manfred said the season would not start on March 31. Due to logistical problems, Manfred also reaffirmed that the games could be canceled, not rescheduled.

The announcement was made Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium, where the Cardinals and Marlins would usually be having spring training but instead hosted the talks. Two spring training games have already been canceled as MLB players are trying to stay in shape at local high school fields in both Florida and Arizona.

Meanwhile, these are the first MLB games to be canceled since the 1994-1995 player walkout. Then 232 regular-season games were canceled. Manfred has this to say about the canceled games:

“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, adding, “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party.”

How sincere that statement is is anyone’s guess. It is hard to believe that two fully qualified negotiators could not agree in over 100 days of negotiations. The whole 2022 season is in question, with both sides’ heels dug in. 

MLB News: With no agreement in sight, MLB asks for federal help

With MLB and the Players Union not substantially closer to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, MLB has asked the Feds to intervene to help iron out a new agreement, as the start of spring training is just two weeks away. Of course, even that move must be approved by the players union. When a new agreement could not be reached by the December 1 deadline, MLB instituted a shutdown until the sides had come together with a new agreement. Since then, the sides have had four meetings and have not been able to come together. Now MLB has asked for the assistance of a federal mediator to help resolve the labor issues between the league and the MLB Players Association, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Should the two sides agree to this move, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service would assist with the proceedings between the two sides, with the help hoping to move the negotiations toward a new agreement. According to one MLB official, the league sees this as the most productive path going forward to move the negotiations ahead and avoid a loss of games at the beginning of the new season, which now appears to be in jeopardy.

On December 2nd, MLB instituted the lockout that forbids the New York Yankees or any of the other 29 major league teams from having any transactions to improve their teams. The sides can not even engage with each other with talks. Talks between the sides should have been productive as the main players in the talks are both experienced negotiators. The MLBPA leader and Executive Director is a very skilled negotiator. This time the players are tired of losing in negotiations and are not willing to concede on some of their wants. The other is Commissioner Rob Manfred, that has a degree in labor negotiations, but apparently, that hasn’t been helpful either.

This was particularly important for the New York Yankees as they remained out of the early moves that saw almost half of all available free agents going to other teams. Now with only days before catchers and pitchers report for spring training, the Yankees still have the holes to fill that were present after the conclusion of the World Series. They were able to upgrade their coaching staff but were not able to acquire any new players. With the lockout, the Yankee front office and general manager Brian Cashman have had plenty of time to figure out their moves once the lockout is over, but they will have to pounce and quickly, as other teams will be in the same situation.

In the past Federal mediators have helped resolve other professional sports negotiations, particularly assisting the National Football League, National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer, among others. They have not been as successful with MLB issues.

MLB and the MLBPA met on Tuesday to resolve some of the core economic issues. Past concessions bringing the sides closer seemed to be erased when those issues could not be resolved and tainting the progress already made. The MLBPA (players union) offered to reduce its bonus pool by $5 million. That pool was to increase the money available to the best minor league performers. But the talks on Tuesday did not result in any movement with that issue..

According to sources, the MLBPA remains stuck on a pair of key issues: They want a reduction in revenue sharing, and the union wants all players with two years of service time to be eligible for arbitration. The problem with these two MLBPA requests is that MLB has been steadfast, that those issues are non-starters for MLB team owners. Other issues include the leagues’ minimum salary and the competitive balance tax threshold. There have been over two dozen years of relative peace between the two sides, but this year the MLBPA has dug in its heels. The next step is for the players to agree to Federal negotiators. If they don’t do that, the start of spring training is surely in jeopardy.

If MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred can not find a way to start spring training on time, it will be just one more negative mark on the reputation of one of the most hated men in baseball. Zack  Britton is currently the Yankees’ representative to the players union.

New York Yankees: Radical differences suggest a long lockout

The New York Yankees failed to improve the team before the lockout, and they can expect to wait a long time to make those improvements. Most analysts believe the lock will last until the start of spring training, assuming the players are not locked out of the training facilities, endangering the beginning of the 2022 season.

By now, most of you know that Major League Baseball is in its first work stoppage since the 1994-95, that’s 26 years since the players went on strike in the middle of the 94 season. Last Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. ET, the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement expired, meaning MLB and the MLB Players’ Association do not have a contract in place to conduct business. This time, it’s not a strike but an owner-imposed lockout instituted just minutes after the present expiration.

What all of this means to the 2022 season is unknown right now, but we do know, is that all MLB business came to an immediate halt. Players and owners can’t even talk to each other until a new deal is signed. But it goes beyond that; the no talk and no contact goes includes managers, coaches, and even rehab trainers. Here are a few other events that could be impacted.

Along with the transaction freeze, the MLB Winter Meetings scheduled for December 6-9, typically the busiest week of the offseason, have been canceled. The Rule 5 draft that is scheduled for December 10 is likely to happen still. There is precedent for this, as the draft went on during the last work stoppage. But the final decision is unclear. The draft is when teams can select unprotected minor leaguers from other teams. Those selected must be included on the procuring team’s 40 man rosters, automatically making them a member of the Players Union.

January 14, 2022, is the arbitration salary filing deadline. You can look for this to occur as arbitration is between the players and the arbitrator and the owners and the arbitrator. The players and owners don’t actually talk to each other. However, pushing the deadline back is not out of the question.

January 15, 2022, is the first day that teams can sign international free agents. It could go on as scheduled during the lockout as the owners are not dealing with major league players. However, that does not mean that date couldn’t be pushed back too. MLB has been wanting an International Draft for years, and the upcoming CBA could change those rules. If a CBA can not be accomplished before spring training, it could push back the signing date indefinitely. The Yankees were expected to sign number one international prospect Rodrick Arias.

On January 20, 2022, the Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their class of 2022 as voted upon by the Baseball Writer’s Association. This will go on as expected.
That brings us to the start of Spring training in February, when pitchers and catchers are to report. If this is no CBA in place, they won’t be allowed on the training facilities, and the start of spring training and the regular 2022 season could be impacted. As it looks right now, most baseball analysts do not expect an agreement until the heat really turns up at the beginning of February. Why? Because the two sides are far apart on the issues, and neither seems to be willing to negotiate in good faith.

Rather than get into all the issues causing the lockout, let’s just say it’s about money, the players want more, particularly at the beginning of their careers, and the owners want to keep that money. That’s not to say there aren’t other issues causing disagreement, but money is the big one. The players feel the owners have pretty much had their way in the last few agreements and are determined not to let that happen again. With heals dug in, there is no telling how long the stoppage will last, or even if there will be a 2022 season.

If these issues are to be resolved, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and Player’s Union leader Tony Clark and going to have to put their heads together and hammer out what is best for both sides. What the fans want will not be in the equation. For the Yankees, with much work yet to do, they would like to see an agreement made sooner than later.

New York Yankees: It’s 1994 all over again, what you need to know

The New York Yankees and all of major league baseball went into lockout when the owners and the players couldn’t come to an agreement on a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement). This is the first work stoppage in baseball in 27 years. Although there are some differences, it is like 1994 all over again. This is a lockout by the owners; in 1994, it was a walkout by the players; nevertheless, the result is the same, no baseball interactions by any of the parties involved until a new agreement can be reached.

For all practical purposes, it means the players and owners can’t talk to each other. That means no trades, no more insane contracts offered to players, coaches can’t even work with players. Pitchers and catchers are to report to spring training in February, but they won’t be getting any instruction from trainers, coaches, or manager Aaron Boone. It has yet to be seen if players are locked out of spring training sites. Depending on the lockout length (in 1994, it was seven and half months), the 2022 season may not start on time or may not be played at all.

For baseball fans everywhere, most find both sides responsible, the players who are crying after making millions a year to play a game they love and the owners for being just as greedy. Forgetting the issues for a moment and looking deep into the responsibility for the lockout, it gets quite confusing. Without the owners, the ballplayers have no job. The owners spend millions on new ballparks, refurbishing older ones, paying players, in some cases insane amounts to play, and all the other associated costs of putting on a ballgame. This is not to recognize that owners make revenues from ticket sales, merchandise, and TV revenues.

On the player’s part, yes, most struggle in the early years of their careers in the minors, with relatively low pay and, in some cases, substandard living conditions that have significantly improved in recent years. But the reality is, isn’t that true of most workers, no matter what career they choose, the more considerable earnings come with time and experience. An example across all careers is that in the early years, you may have to share an apartment with a friend to get by, but after, say, 10 years, you may be able to afford a home. The big difference between the average Joe and a baseball player is that Joe will likely never make millions a year.

This writer tends to side with the owners who have much more at stake than the players do. However, the ballplayers do have some issues that should be addressed in their favor. The owners have supported a salary cap forever, but the players will have no part of that. If you think about it, a player that is paid $43 million a year to start 25-30 games in the course of a season makes nearly a million and a half dollars to pitch five or six innings. That is insane when an average family of four can’t afford to attend a ballgame. Not to dwell on the subject, but think about it a second. That pitcher makes more money in between pitches in one game than the ticket buyer makes annually.

To understand the work stoppage, let’s take a look at other stoppages through the years:

  • 1972: Players struck over a pension dispute. It lasted about two weeks, disrupting the 1972 season.
  • 1973: The owners locked out the player over salary arbitration during spring training that year.
  • 1976: Owner lockout during spring training over the evolving issue of player-free agency.
  • 1980: In 1980, if issue of free agency again halted spring training.
  • 1981: Players strike over free-agent compensation. The 1981 season was nearly destroyed when two months of playing time was lost.
  • 1985: Players strike over pension fund and salary arbitration. This stoppage only lost two games of the season.
  • 1990: Owner lockout over salary arbitration and free agency. Began during spring training, causing a delay in the start of the 1990 season.
  • The 1995 season was significantly abbreviated. 1994: Players strike largely over owners’ desire to implement a salary cap. This happened in August and canceled the remainder of the season, including the postseason. At the time, the Yankees were 70-43. Play resumed only after a federal judge reinstated terms of the previous CBA.
  • 2021: Owners lockout players when agreement is not evident. Players want more money sooner in their careers and want owners to stop manipulating how long a player remains in the minors. The union also wants a luxury tax overhaul to lure teams to spend more on player salaries without fear of harsh tax penalties. The players also want a higher beginning salary that now stands at $570,000. These are just some of the issues that have not been resolved. It should be pointed out that if no progress is made, the sides could agree to keep the present agreement in force to prevent the loss of the 2022 season.

For fans, they see both sides of the issues, not being sincere and willing to work together to make the game better for the sake of the fan and the game itself. Every time there is a work stoppage, fans leave the sport.

The biggest target for disgruntled fans is Commissioner Rob Manfred that has a very low approval rating that is near the bottom of the trash can. For Yankee fans, they will never forgive him for not stripping the Houston Astros of their 2017 World Series win after it was proved that they cheated. That aside, he has not been seen as doing what if best for the game. One thing that should be known about Manfred is that he is a graduate of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and has a law degree from Harvard. He should be the perfect person to resolve these issues but has failed.

“Things like a shortened reserve period, $100 million reduction in revenue sharing, and salary arbitration for the whole two-year class are bad for the sport, bad for the fans, and bad for competitive balance,” Manfred recited on Thursday, while noting that the players have not budged on any of these issues. He also said the owners have already made concessions.”

“While we have heard repeatedly that free agency is ‘broken’ — in the month of November $1.7 billion was committed to free agents, smashing the prior record by nearly 4x,” Manfred penned, likely echoing what he’s heard from the crybaby billionaires whose collective interest he represents. “By the end of the offseason, Clubs will have committed more money to players than in any offseason in MLB history.”

In addition to the issues at hand, the players believe the owners have had their way in recent agreements and are not going to let that happen again. Tony Clark, leader of the players union, has been less verbal about the lack of an agreement, but he did say on Thursday:

“From the outset, it seems as if the league has been more interested in the appearance of bargaining than bargaining itself,” said Clark, who then stressed that M.L.B. wasn’t required to impose a lockout. He added, “And contrary to the statement that imposing a lockout would be helpful in bringing negotiations to a conclusion, players consider it unnecessary and provocative. This lockout won’t pressure or intimidate players into a deal that they don’t believe is fair.”

With the sides still very far apart, and neither side willing to work in good faith, it spells for a very long work stoppage, as seen by most industry insiders. Stay with for all the latest developments.’s columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees: MLB owners impose lockout, everything comes to a halt

manfred, mlb, baseball

Last night, New York Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner and the other 29 club owners unanimously voted to impose a lockout. It was not a surprise as the two sides in the negotiations for a new five-year agreement were reportedly still far apart on pending issues. The lockout means an immediate stop to any trades or new free-agent contracts. The lockout will last until the two sides can come to an agreement.

The move last night signals the first time there has been an MLB work stoppage since August of 1994. That stoppage ended the season with no World Series and lasted into the 1995 season that was delayed. The stoppage lasted over seven and a half months. That stoppage likely cost the Yankees a championship, as the team was 70 and 43 before the stoppage. This present stoppage is due to a lockout by the owners, the 1994 halt was caused by a player walkout. It’s unclear if it will affect Opening Day for the start of the 2022 spring training.

Super agent Scott Boras had this to say about the lockout:

“We have something in our rules that creates non-competitiveness. It creates something that drives down fan interest. All those things need to be addressed and addressed immediately, because the whole integrity and wholesomeness of the game needs to be back to where it was, so there’s an incentive to get back to the ballpark and win every day,”

His client, Mets newly acquired pitcher Max Scherzer and player negotiator, had this to say:

“There are so many different ways as players as whole that we believe we can make the game better. We’re absolutely committed to doing that,” Sherzer told reporters. “I hear every other player, whether young or old, they’re all saying the same thing clubhouse to clubhouse. It’s not just me who thinks this, it’s everybody. It’s obvious to all the players.”

In the wee hours of Thursday, after the lockout was affirmed, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred explained why the lockout was necessary.

“This defensive lockout was necessary, because the players association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive… It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise or collaborate on solutions.”

How long this lockout will last is anyone’s guess, but a short outcome does look like it is in the offing. At stake is money, the players want more earlier, and the owners want to keep that money. In the last several agreements, the owners have pretty much had their way. This time the players have made it clear that they are sick of it and are not going to take it anymore. They have their heels dug in, which does not spell for any early agreement.

As of this writing, baseball player’s union leader Tony Clark, who is an ex-Yankee first baseman, has not made a statement on the lockout.

At 12:03 am today Manfred issued this letter to baseball fans:

To our Fans:

I first want to thank you for your continued support of the great game of baseball. This past season, we were reminded of how the national pastime can bring us together and restore our hope despite the difficult challenges of a global pandemic. As we began to emerge from one of the darkest periods in our history, our ballparks were filled with fans; the games were filled with excitement; and millions of families felt the joy of watching baseball together.

That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today. Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.

I want to explain to you how we got here and why we have to take this action today. Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.

When we began negotiations over a new agreement, the Players Association already had a contract that they wouldn’t trade for any other in sports. Baseball’s players have no salary cap and are not subjected to a maximum length or dollar amount on contracts. In fact, only MLB has guaranteed contracts that run 10 or more years, and in excess of $300 million. We have not proposed anything that would change these fundamentals. While we have heard repeatedly that free agency is “broken” – in the month of November $1.7 billion was committed to free agents, smashing the prior record by nearly 4x. By the end of the offseason, Clubs will have committed more money to players than in any offseason in MLB history.

We worked hard to find compromise while making the system even better for players, by addressing concerns raised by the Players Association. We offered to establish a minimum payroll for all clubs to meet for the first time in baseball history; to allow the majority of players to reach free agency earlier through an age-based system that would eliminate any claims of service time manipulation; and to increase compensation for all young players, including increases in the minimum salary. When negotiations lacked momentum, we tried to create some by offering to accept the universal Designated Hitter, to create a new draft system using a lottery similar to other leagues, and to increase the Competitive Balance Tax threshold that affects only a small number of teams.

We have had challenges before with respect to making labor agreements and have overcome those challenges every single time during my tenure. Regrettably, it appears the Players Association came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise. They never wavered from collectively the most extreme set of proposals in their history, including significant cuts to the revenue-sharing system, a weakening of the competitive balance tax, and shortening the period of time that players play for their teams. All of these changes would make our game less competitive, not more.

To be clear: this hard but important step does not necessarily mean games will be cancelled. In fact, we are taking this step now because it accelerates the urgency for an agreement with as much runway as possible to avoid doing damage to the 2022 season. Delaying this process further would only put Spring Training, Opening Day, and the rest of the season further at risk – and we cannot allow an expired agreement to again cause an in-season strike and a missed World Series, like we experienced in 1994. We all owe you, our fans, better than that.

Today is a difficult day for baseball, but as I have said all year, there is a path to a fair agreement, and we will find it. I do not doubt the League and the Players share a fundamental appreciation for this game and a commitment to its fans. I remain optimistic that both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow, protect, and strengthen the game we love. MLB is ready to work around the clock to meet that goal. I urge the Players Association to join us at the table.

New York Yankees: Is the hot stove about to go stone cold? All about the CBA

manfred, mlb, baseball

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 franchise owners and all the players that play the game for MLB, there is just one week to settle employer employee disagreements. On December 1 at 11:59 pm the present CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) will expire. All issues must be resolved or a lock out or a player strike could take place.

What’s at stake?

If you don’t like reading about stuff like this, I will make it simple for you. It’s all about the money. The players want as much as they can get, and the owners want to keep as much as they can. It’s really that simple. Insiders to the talks don’t hold much promise that there will not be a work stoppage. The last time there was a stoppage was during August of 1994 when the players went on strike. The season was not completed, there was no World Series and baseball didn’t start again until long after the 1995 should have started. Fans were irate, with many leaving the sport not to return for a decade. Another stoppage for the sport could be devastating.

Some times it’s hard to wrap your head around all of this because it’s a sport, but make no mistake about it, it is as much a business as owners make huge investments in players and property to draw fans to their parks, and increase their TV and other revenues. For the Players, its their livelihood. There is much at stake, one side will eventually win, but the loser will be the fans themselves.

Let’s set the stage. The chief negotiator for the owners is Commissioner Rob Manfred, in the other corner is Tony Clark President of the MLB Players Association. If this sounds like a fight it is. By its very nature it is confrontational.

Here is a brief explanation of what’s at stake for the players. The last few Collective Bargaining Agreements have heavily favored the owners, and the players are sick of getting the short end of the stick. To borrow a phase, they are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. The only one without a seat at the table is what is good for the game of baseball, and you the loyal fan.

Players want more money earlier in their careers

Young players in particular want to be able to make more money earlier in their career than they presently can. The salaries of MLB players have dropped, in 2017 the average annual salary for an MLB player was $4.1 million, for 2021 it’s expected to average between $3.6-$3.7 million. It’s been reported that MLB has proposed free agency will no longer be based upon players accruing six years of big league service, but available to every player who turns 29.5 years of age. This would mean that a player 21-23 could wait more than six years to achieve free agency.

There are a host of other less interesting items to be sorted out, but Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that we  could be headed for a lockout, as labor negotiations between the league and its players association are progressing slowly.

Lock outs and strikes don’t always end well, back in 1981 the Schlitz Brewing company in Wisconsin went on strike. The company was coming off a poor season of reduced revenues. Baseball is coming off a $3 Billion loss in 2020. The workers wanted more money but the company said no. Eventually Schlitz closed the plant down and 700 lost their jobs permanently. It is possible that a work stoppage that lasts into the 2022 season could put some poorer teams under.

  • A lockout would put a hold on all MLB transactions.
  • The league is not required to initiate a lockout after the CBA expires but may choose to do so.
  • Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement before the season is set to start on March 31, MLB could face a shortened or even canceled season.
  • A lockout during the postseason if it moves the process forward is not a bad thing, but if it continues beyond opening day it could be devastating.
  • The players and the owners have just one week to get all the issues sorted out for the good of the game.





New York Yankees: Pay by how you perform, how radical is that?

manfred, mlb, baseball

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, even though it’s early in the offseason non the less they are scurrying about checking on who is available to fill the spots on their teams that need to be filled. They also have to figure out how many will be done by cash and how many by trades they can come up with. But Just a few weeks from now a major hurdle in the offseason must be leaped over, that’s the GMA that caused the players to go on strike in 1994.

General Manager Brian Cashman has made it public that after a failed experiment with Gleyber Torres at shortstop, his main priority this off-season is to get a quality tried and true shortstop for the club. However, every baseball fan must know that when Cashman and company sit down together to decide what to do about shortstop and second base, there will be a giant grey elephant sitting in the room. His name is MLB CBA.

That is short for Collective bargaining agreement; basically, the owners and players come together to decide who will make the most money over the next term. No one wants to lose that battle, but one side of the issues must lose, and for the last several years, it has been the players. To steal a phrase, I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Most industry sources are saying the mood is this year’s talks that have a December 4 deadline.

Now a bit more than three weeks away, the deadline approaches. There has been very little leaked out of the talks, mostly due to keeping it in the boardroom is to the benefit of all. But this week, MLB has put forth an idea that has been brought up more than once. It’s a change from arbitration, being replaced by a so-called pay by performance. An amount of money would be spread out among the eligible players, and then instead of raises by arbitration, they would be given out by WAR or performance. It sounds a bit like a salary cap for those players, something the Players Union has rejected time and time again.

Considering recent relations between Commissioner Rob Manfred, MLBPA director Tony Clark and the owners, expect a difficult time ahead. Although finding that shortstop, centerfielder, and starting pitcher for the New York Yankees may be a problem getting past the GBA may be the most challenging. Another lock-out or player strike would be devastating to baseball.

MLB Analysis: MLB and MLBPA just don’t like each other, you will pay

manfred, mlb, baseball

After last year’s contentious negotiations between MLB and the players union, MLBPA, that went nowhere and ended up with the Commissioner mandating a 60 game season, it should come to no one’s surprise that the union and owners don’t like each other at all. Although there are many underlying issues, the big problem between the sides is that the players see everything the owners do leads to a salary cap that the players vehemently oppose. The owners see everything the union does is to milk more money from the owners. Yes, it’s all about money.

As a fan of the game, you can’t believe what either side says about anything; it’s all a ruse that leads back to it’s all about money. If the owners say up, the players say down, and all this contentiousness leads up to the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) that expires at the end of this season. The owners have basically had their way with the union for the last several years, but that has come to an end, with the union trying to show strength by objecting to anything the owners want to do. Who will pay in the end are, of course, the fans. Because of all of this hostility, there is a 75% chance that the new CBA’s lack of agreement will likely lead to a baseball strike.

The last baseball strike was 26 years ago when the 1994 season came to an early end on August 12th. The fans were left with no postseason after watching their favorite teams all season long. It also caused the 1995 season not to start on time. Unless these two sides can find some common ground and not be as greedy on both sides, we are headed for another baseball strike.

To refresh your memory of the MLB 1994 New York Yankee season, the strike may have prevented the Yankees from winning another World Series. When the season was halted, the Yankees under Buck Showalter were 70 and 43, 1st in the East. Wade Boggs was hitting .342; pitcher Jimmy Key was 17-4 on the season. And reliever Mike Stanley was winning games at a .800 rate. The strike prevented Showalter from a World Series win; it prevented Key from a 20 win season. It also dismayed fans beyond belief. It was like reaching 200′ from the top of Mt. Everest and being told your time had run out, and you had to go home.

In the latest episode of the drama, the owners wanted to start the season a month later with a 154 game season with full 162 game pay for the players. As always, this ended up with another disagreement between Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and the MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. Clark immediately refusing the owner’s request for a delay. The owners sighted that it would give more time for more arms to be vaccinated and create a safer environment for players, staff, and fans.

The union sighted that it was too late to delay the season, as players had already rented homes or had their cars on trains headed to Florida or Arizona. Of course, that was a factor, but only a minor one; here is where we get back to money. The union rejected it because it did not include pay for canceled games, delays, or if the season had to be canceled altogether.

So now we have a 162 game season with no expanded postseason, no universal DH. It is basically a return to the 2019 season rules.

All of this gobbledygook doesn’t seem believable on either side of the issue. If either side was concerned about health, which both sides say they are, why didn’t the union request a delay in the season to protect players? Why did the owners wait until the last moment to ask for a delay when they knew it would be rejected?

One player’s agent paints this MLB scenario:

“Players get to spring training. They go to the market to stock the refrigerator of their rentals. They go out to dinner, some go out to bars, some go to the mall, some to other things. Cumulatively that will exponentially increase the odds of some player getting (COVID-19) and transmitting it.

“How long before a camp is closed? How long before games are canceled? How long before spring training is delayed? What happens if it then drags into the season? More importantly, what happens if someone becomes seriously ill? How is any of those things defensible if it was all avoidable?”

The bottom line is that there is no way to know if, by delaying the season, any of this could be avoidable, but it certainly would make the likelihood less probable. This is just another example of how MLB and the MLBPA could not come to an agreement for the benefit of the game.

MLB News/Rumors: How long will the 2021 baseball season be?

If the MLBPA has any say, it will be a full 162 games for full pay. MLB reached out to the players union, asking them if they would be open to a shortened season in 2021 that might lop off at least the first month of the season. The immediate response was absolutely not. A big fat NO! MLBPA Executive director former Yankee Tony Clark reiterated what he said  at the end of the season, “the players are planning for a 162-game season and plan to show up for spring training on time.”

The beginning of the season and how long it will be has yet to be ironed out, along with many other 2020 rule changes as to whether they will be continued. Not the least is if there will be a universal DH in 2021 and if they will keep the man on second base after nine innings. At the end of this year, the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is set to expire after the 2021 season. The MLBPA is not going to seem weak, going into those negotiations. They will want to hold firm for everything they want for the 2021 season.

The CBA is the negotiated agreement that governs almost every aspect of the working relationship between management (the clubs) and labor (the players). While we’ve had a long run of labor peace in baseball — the sport has gone without a labor stoppage since 1995 — there’s reason to fear that may end with the next round of negotiations. At another time closer to the negotiation I will explain the complex issues involved.

But for now, the details of the 2021 season have to be ironed out, and for owners, it’s not starting well with the denial of playing a full season of games in 2021. In a USA Today story this week, team owners were quoted as skeptical that a full-length season could be completed.

“We’ve seen anonymous quotes attributed to club sources casting doubt on the start date and length of the season, “Bruce Meyer, the MLBPA’s senior director of collective bargaining and legal, said in a statement on Tuesday. “To be clear and ass we’ve made clear to the league, players are planning on showing up on time for spring training and for a full 162-game season as set forth in the collective bargaining agreement and the leagues previously issued schedule.”

If you recall, the length of the MLB 2020 season and how much baseball players would be paid caused long and tense negotiations before Commissioner Rob Manfred mandated the 60 game season. There is no reason to expect anything different before this upcoming season. With so much unknown about the 2021 season, don’t expect any of these issues to be decided by spring training in the headlights. There are so many unknowns from the effect the coronavirus will have on the season, if fans will be in the stands, how successful the hopeful vaccines will be, and if players will be required to take the vaccines. Much more to come on this and many other MLB subjects in the weeks to come.’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

MLB News: Despite optimism there is no agreement for a baseball season, details here

manfred, mlb, baseball

While New York Yankees President Randy Levine expressed his optimism that there would be a baseball season, urging the sides to negotiate, Commissioner Manfred issued what appeared to be blockbuster news.

“At my request Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix.  We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective contituents. I summarized that framework several times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. I am encouraging the clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same”

Manfred’s statement led baseball lovers everywhere to believe a baseball deal had been accomplished, and the only thing left was a union vote approving the deal.  But as the evening progressed, a letter from players union executive director Tony Clark was released stating: citing “a number of significant issues with what [MLB Manfred] proposed” and stated, “there certainly were no tentative agreements reached.”

Here is what Manfred’s latest proposal looks like:

  • Spring training would begin no later than June 28 for position players.
  • The season would consist of 60 games over 70 days, beginning July 19 or 20 and ending Sept. 27.
  • An expanded postseason in 2020 and 2021, with a minimum players’ pool of $25 million.
  • 100 percent prorated salaries (60 games would amount to about 37 percent of a 162-game season and salary)
  • The designated hitter in both leagues in 2020 and 2021.
  • Opt-out rights for high-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC.
  • MLB would direct $10 million for social justice initiatives.
  • ‘Minimum’ player commitments for broadcast elements, including the miking of players.
  • Corporate advertising on uniforms in 2020 and 2021.
  • Enhanced housing allowances for spring training and regular season.
  • Mutual waiver of potential grievances under the March Agreement.

MLB on their part has made significant comprises to the players union so that a season can be accomplished.  100 percent of prorated salaries is one of them. Previous MBL plans have called for large reductions in play.  The plan also allows players to have corporate advertising on uniforms to increase player revenue. But among other issues, the players are holding fast to wanting more games going later into the season.

According to how you look at the MLB deal, it appears each side of the negotiation gets a little of what they wanted.  The players will be paid their full prorated salaries, and the owners get a shortened season that will reduce losses from a much longer season. It makes you wonder why the sides couldn’t have come to a similar compromise earlier, producing a much more legitimate season.

After the final tweaking of the agreement, both sides may see that 66 games make more sense schedule-wise. 12 games each vs. 4 division opponents, 3 games each vs. 4 interleague opponents, and 6 games (home and home) vs. interleague rivals. The exact details may not be known until spring training 2.0 is resumed if the sides can finally come together and make it happen.

With the sides constantly disagreeing on issues now, they don’t seem to be able to agree on whether an agreement has been reached.  However, there is more optimism today than a few days ago when Clark said that further negotiations would be futile. With yesterday’s MLB announcement, I was hoping to be writing about a start to the season this morning, but It appears the sides are closer together to make that happen to provide some hope of an MLB season.  The supposed agreement could be a jump start that has been needed.