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MLB says games will be cancelled if no deal is reached by Feb. 28, per report

The season apparently will be shortened if a CBA isn’t agreed upon by Monday.

MLB Owners Meetings Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

MLB representatives said Wednesday that the regular season will be delayed and games will be cancelled, with players losing salary for all the days that are wiped out, if an agreement on a new labor deal isn’t reached with the MLBPA by Feb. 28.

While the prevailing belief has been that the season would be delayed if a deal wasn’t agreed upon by the end of February, it wasn’t clear whether the league would try to make up the missed games from the start of the season on off days or as part of doubleheaders rather than simply cancelling them. The league’s stance certainly isn’t too surprising, as the owners’ strategy following the pandemic-fueled shutdown in 2020 largely centered around trying to cut players’ salaries in order to make up for the financial losses brought on by COVID-19.

As the Sporting News’ Ryan Fagan points out, there is historical precedent for still playing a 162-game season, even if Opening Day is delayed. However, with player salaries significantly higher than they were 32 years ago and owners more focused than ever on maintaining profit margins, the idea of shuffling things around to make sure a full season is played apparently isn’t as appealing as it once was.

League and union representatives continued negotiating for a third straight day in Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday. While the two sides seem to be moving closer toward an agreement on a minimum salary structure, they still appear to be far apart on several issues — most notably the competitive balance threshold, which is the biggest topic that needs to be agreed upon before a new deal can be reached.