It was widely reported yesterday that when Rob Manfred spoke to the media today, he was going to announce that MLB spring training was going to be delayed. That news was going to come to the surprise of absolutely no one given that MLB had yet to even respond to the union’s offer nearly two weeks ago beyond trying to get a federal mediator involved. No one realistically thought that spring training was going to start on time and that remains true.
That said, Manfred did speak with the media and while delaying spring training still seems incredibly likely, he did not announce that that was going to happen.
Manfred on spring training: "The status of spring training is no change right now. We're going to have a conversation with the MLBPA about the calendar...until we have that conversation and until we see how this session on Saturday goes, it's no change."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 10, 2022
This is likely just posturing from Manfred and the league so that they can make their offer on Saturday and when MLBPA doesn’t immediately agree to it, they can then announce the spring training delay and try to pin it on the players. The efficacy of that strategy without some real concessions from the league is dubious given that the vast majority of the coverage of the CBA talks has centered around ownership’s lack of good faith and lack of responding in a timely manner in these negotiations. At the end of the day, this is a lockout...not a player strike.
However, we did get some good news regarding some areas of agreement that have been found including imposing the universal designated hitter as well as eliminating draft pick compensation.
Manfred: "We've agreed to a universal designated hitter and eliminated draft pick compensation."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 10, 2022
There is also still talk about creating a draft pick lottery which would have the goal of lessening the impact of “tanking” for high draft picks. However, some of the biggest elephants in the room regarding the core economics of baseball (which have been the biggest hurdle so far) have yet to find much agreement. It will be interesting to see what the league’s offer looks like Saturday on those fronts, although the safest bet is that we still could be a ways away from an agreement.