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MLB Cancels Games Through April 14th Amid CBA Negotiation Drama

MLB Owners Meetings Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Despite an extended day of negotiating between the owners and players on Tuesday that brought about some optimism that the Collective Bargaining Agreement could be settled, Major League Baseball has announced that another week of games has been cancelled, with cancellations now through April 14.

MLB and the players have made, in the very least, some agreements over the last few days. On Sunday, the union and MLB agreed on the implementation of a pitch clock, banning of infield shifts, and usage of larger bases. These rules will come in play in the 2023 season.

Reportedly, the biggest gap between the players’ association and the owners is in the topic of the international draft. We will come back to that later on..

Throughout the afternoon on Tuesday, the baseball world seemed to be increasingly optimistic that a deal would be completed before the ‘deadline’ on Wednesday evening. The league made a proposal to the players on Tuesday, including: a pre-arbitration pool of $40 million and that players can be optioned five times at most before being exposed to waivers. MLB also offered minimum salaries of $700 thousand to $770 thousand.

Additionally, on Tuesday, MLB proposed a draft lottery with six picks (was previously five), where small markets can pick in the lottery for two consecutive years and large markets only one year. In the service time area of the negotiations, MLB proposed that the top two Rookie of the Year vote getters can receive a full year of service time.

After talking until nearly 3:00 AM local time on Wednesday, the union and owners met again later on Wednesday morning before the union made a counterproposal later in the afternoon. The players asked for a pre-arbitration pool of $65 million and minimum salaries starting at $710 thousand to $780 thousand.

The players union pumped the brakes at the MLB’s urge to implement an international draft — something the league has wanted for years. MLB proposed the players the following three paths, asking them to pick their desired path before moving forward with other CBA negotiations.

  • The implementation of an international draft and the elimination of direct draft pick compensation.
  • Draft pick penalties, but no international draft.
  • Elimination of direct draft pick compensation, with the sake of getting a deal done. Players would have until November 15 of this year, to agree to an international draft starting 2024. If the players still opposed the international draft, the CBA would be reopened after the 2024 season.

The union did not like the fact that the league put them in a position where they had to make a decision on this matter before receiving a full proposal in all the other areas of their negotiations.

The Wednesday evening deadline mentioned earlier was to avoid the cancellation of more regular season games, and, of course, the deadline was not met.

After the cancellation of another week of games on Wednesday, it was reported that the two sides are continuing to discuss the international draft issues. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB wants this resolved before moving on with the rest of the negotiations.

With another week of the regular season gone, this officially cancels what would have been Opening Day at Busch Stadium — Thursday, April 7th. As things stand now, with games cancelled through at least April 14th, the first game of the 2022 season in St. Louis would be (at the earlier) on Monday, April 25th.