Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
In addition to MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) needing to find common ground on economics for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), an array of other details must be ironed out.
Chief among them are the potential — and expected — additions of a universal designated hitter and expanded postseason. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently suggested the two sides were in agreement on the National League adopting the DH, though that still needs to be finalized.
As for expanding the postseason field, MLB team owners reportedly prefer a format with 14 teams and the union has countered at 12.
A general assumption has been more playoff teams would be added with a new CBA, but according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca, that won’t hold true for 2022 if a full regular season is not played:
Last thing: Heard MLBPA has told MLB not to expect expanded playoffs in 2022 if players miss the chance to play a full 162 and be compensated for the full season.
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 18, 2022
Spring Training camps didn’t open as scheduled last week and games won’t be played at least until Saturday, March 5. That had long been expected but wasn’t made official until this past weekend.
“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of Spring Training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5th. All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands,” MLB said in their statement.
“The Clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the Club to any Spring Training games that are not taking place. We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side.
“On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”
Meanwhile, MLB reportedly informed the union they view February 28 as the deadline for a new CBA to be in place and avoid delaying Opening Day from March 31.
Turner hopeful MLB, Players Association strike deal
As time continues to tick away, Justin Turner recently expressed optimism the two sides will agree to a CBA in time to play a full season.
“Honestly, I’m not going to complain about a short Spring Training, but hoping for a full 162 (games),” he said. “I know 2020, obviously the pandemic hit, but playing a 60-game season wasn’t good for anyone.
“Wasn’t good for the players, wasn’t good for the owners, so I hope everyone realizes that the best thing for everyone — especially our fans, who are the most important people in all this — is to play a full 162-game season.”