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.
MLB is clear on this point: If there isn’t a deal by Monday, games will be cancelled and will not be made up. The season will be less than 162 games and players will not be paid for a full season, no matter what.— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) February 23, 2022
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.
The 1990 lockout ended on March 19. Regular season was delayed a week (Opening Day was set for April 3) and all 162 games were played. https://t.co/8Iy7lisNfY— Ryan Fagan (@ryanfagan) February 24, 2022
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.