Tuesday’s deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement passed without a deal between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, as the players voted to reject the league’s final proposal before 5 p.m. ET.
With no deal in place, MLB announced that each team’s first two series of the regular season will not be played, meaning that the regular season will begin no earlier than April 7, while Spring Training games will begin no earlier than March 12.
MLB extended Monday night’s deadline until Tuesday at 5 p.m., believing enough progress had been made during Monday’s 16-hour bargaining marathon that a deal could be consummated the next day.
“We worked hard to avoid an outcome that is bad for our fans, bad for our players and bad for our clubs,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred while speaking to the assembled media in Jupiter, Fla., where the negotiations were taking place. “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort on the part of either party.”
MLB made what it called its “best offer” before the deadline, though the MLBPA rejected it, prompting the league to take the first week’s worth of games off the schedule.
“The clubs and our owners fully understand just how important it is to our millions of fans that we get the game on the field as soon as possible,” said Manfred. “To that end, we want to bargain and we want a deal with the Players Association as quickly as possible.”
In February, Manfred said that based on injury data and the experience of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, Spring Training should be at least four weeks long in order for players to properly prepare for the season. Without a deal on Tuesday, that means starting the season later than the scheduled March 31 Opening Day.
MLB’s final offer would have meant nearly $500 million in additional compensation for pre-arbitration players through a 23% increase in minimum salary and a $30 million pre-arbitration bonus pool. It would have also increased the competitive balance tax threshold to $220 million, a jump from $214 million in 2021. The MLBPA was reportedly seeking an $85 million bonus pool for pre-arbitration players and a competitive balance tax threshold starting at $238 million.
Among the proposals in MLB’s last offer were:
Pre-Arbitration Bonus Pool