MLB Opening Day, first two series of regular season canceled after players reject league's offer

Rob Manfred cancels regular season games
Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 19:46:38-05

JUPITER, Fla. — Major League Baseball's regular season will not start on time after the players' union rejected the league's final offer before the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a press conference Tuesday he is canceling the first two series of the regular season, which includes Opening Day on March 31, after a labor dispute collapsed in the final hours of negotiation. ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported the MLBPA said the league told them their proposal before the deadline was their "best and final" offer. Player leaders agreed unanimously to reject the offer and plan to return to New York.

Manfred said an agreement will not be possible before Thursday, meaning teams would have had around three weeks to prepare for the scheduled Opening Day. A study by the Associated Press found players would lose $20.5 million in salary for each day that is canceled, while the league's 30 teams would lose large sums the AP could not clearly define.

The deadline to start the season on time was extended to 5 p.m. Tuesday after talks ended hours after the original Monday deadline, according to The deadline was imposed by owners hoping to push players to make a deal on a collective bargaining agreement.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported both sides had made progress toward a deal, but "large gaps remain in major areas."

The Associated Press said the MLB proposed raising the minimum salary from $570,500 to $675,000 this year, with 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.

The two sides also failed to reach an agreement on the luxury tax threshold. MLB proposed raising the threshold to $220 million in each of the next three seasons, $224 million in 2025 and $230 in 2026. Players asked for $238 million this year, $244 million in 2023, $250 million in 2024, $256 million in 2025 and $263 in 2026.

MLB also proposed $25 million annually for a new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players. The union originally asked for $115 million, but moved to $85 million with $5 million yearly increases.

The owner-imposed lockout has hit 90 days.