Opening Day Canceled After MLB, Players Fail to Reach Agreement

No peanuts and Cracker Jacks or rooting for the home team for baseball fans on Opening Day.

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Major League Baseball fans are starting the season with a loss for everyone after the league failed to reach an agreement with players, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Tuesday.

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For the first time in 27 years, the MLB will lose regular-season games over a labor dispute after the league made a “best and final offer” that was rejected by the players Tuesday, the ninth consecutive day of negotiations.

“My deepest hope is we get an agreement quickly,” Manfred said. “I’m really disappointed we didn’t make an agreement.”

The MLB had threatened to cancel opening day on March 31 if the two sides did not come to an agreement.

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The Associated Press reports the MLB’s proposal did not meet the players’ demands:

  • MLB proposed raising the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $220 million in each of the next three seasons, $224 million in 2025 and $230 in 2026 — unchanged from its prior offer. Players asked for $238 million this year, $244 million in 2023, $250 million in 2024, $256 million in 2025 and $263 in 2026.
  • MLB increased its offer for a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players from $25 million to $30 million, and the union dropped from $115 million to $85 million for this year, with $5 million yearly increases.
  • MLB proposed raising the minimum salary from $570,500 to $700,000 this year, up from its previous offer of $675,000, and included increases of $10,000 annually. The union asked for $725,000 this year, $745,000 in 2023, $765,000 in 2024 and increases for 2025 and 2026 based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners.
  • MLB offered to have the five top picks in the amateur draft determined by a lottery.
  • MLB would expand the postseason to 12 teams, the figure the union prefers to management’s original request for 14.
  • “We thought there was a path to a deal last night and that both sides were closing in on the major issues,” an MLB official said before the last offer was transmitted to the union, speaking on the condition he not be identified by name. “They couldn’t make us a CBT proposal (competitive balance tax) last night, so we agreed to extend the deadline to exhaust every option.

Spring training games, set for Saturday, will be canceled through March 7.

This is a developing story.