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MLB announces the cancellation of two more series pushing back potential Opening Day to April 14 (UPDATED)

Two intense days of negotiations ends in nothing.

MLB Owners Meetings Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

After two days of lengthy negotiations, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA were again unable to come to an agreement as of Wednesday afternoon. As a result, commissioner Rob Manfred has cancelled two more series from the 2022 regular season schedule, and has pushed back Opening Day until April 14. Manfred and the league released the following statement.

“In a last-ditch effort to preserve a 162-game season, this week we have made good-faith proposals that address the specific concerns voiced by the MLBPA and would have allowed the players to return to the field immediately. The Clubs went to extraordinary lengths to meet the substantial demands of the MLBPA. On the key economic issues that have posed stumbling blocks, the Clubs proposed ways to bridge gaps to preserve a full schedule. Regrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal.

“Because of the logistical realities of the calendar, another two series are being removed from the schedule, meaning that Opening Day is postponed until April 14th. We worked hard to reach an agreement and offered a fair deal with significant improvements for the players and our fans. I am saddened by this situation’s continued impact on our game and all those who are a part of it, especially our loyal fans.

“We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will ultimately choose to accept the fair agreement they have been offered.”

The latest stumbling block between the two sides is a proposed International Draft that was labeled as a “non starter” for the players. The league has tied the removal of draft pick forfeiture for signing free agents tagged with the Qualifying Offer to the draft and presented three options for the union to consider. Per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, one was to sign the CBA, including removing draft pick forfeiture, and then take time to examine the international draft. If not implemented by 2024, the league would have been able to re-open the CBA.

The second option was to do the package without the draft and with draft pick penalties intact. The third option was to just accept the deal as it was presented. The players chose to reject all three.

The question now is where do things go from here. While the league’s deadlines have proven artificial, the calendar is a problem for a full 162-game season. A shortened season will add another area of difficulty to the negotiations as season length, service time and player pay for the truncated schedule will have to be negotiated.

Ultimately it is a disappointing result given that the two sides have reportedly moved much closer on the core economic issues.

UPDATE - The MLBPA released a statement regarding the league’s decision to cancel more games.

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