If you listened to the latest episode of Blooper’s Brigade — our Braves podcast here at SportsTalkATL — you would have heard Jake Gordon and I optimistically predict when we think the lockout will end. Both of us thought the middle of February seemed likely, especially if the league wanted to avoid a delayed start to the season. However, things have changed since then, and unfortunately, not for the better.
Last week, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA met multiple times for the first time since the lockout began. It was even reported that “significant progress” was made, and it looked like the two sides finally were focused on finding a solution. Fast forward a week later, and all of the “progress” that was made feels like a moot point. The latest reports suggest the two sides are nowhere close to a solution, and a delay to the start of the season is beginning to feel inevitable.
Today’s 90-minute meeting between MLB, MLBPA was heated. Some owners and players participated. The MLBPA made moves in two areas: service-time manipulation, and pre-arb bonus pool (dropped request from $105 million to $100 million). TBD when next core economics meeting will be.
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 1, 2022
The meeting between the Major League Baseball Players Association and MLB is over. Little progress was made. The on-time opening of spring training at this point is in grave danger and, frankly, would take a miraculous deal coming together to rescue. A delay feels inevitable.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 1, 2022
With Spring Training scheduled to start in just a few weeks, it will take a borderline miracle for it to begin on time. These negotiations are almost never linear, so a deal could reach a resolution in a matter of days if one side caves. Sadly, it doesn’t look like we are close to when that might happen.
If significant progress isn’t made soon, the idea of a full Spring Training slate will be a pipe dream, and next up will be regular season games. Since the beginning of the lockout, I hoped it would never get to this point, but many feared it would, and here we are. This remains one colossal mess, and neither side seems serious about putting a reasonable plan together. Until that changes, the only losers are the fans.