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Morning Mound Visit: Rob Manfred cancels first two series of the season

Manfred gleefully cancelled games despite earlier saying losing part of the regular season would be a “disastrous outcome.”

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MLB Owners Meetings Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

It turns out whatever optimism existed Monday night that a deal for a new CBA would be made before MLB’s arbitrary deadline was ill-founded. MLB and the MLBPA failed to come to an agreement on Tuesday, and Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first two series of the season. Now, the earliest Opening Day could arrive is Friday, April 8, but that seems unlikely at this point.

The two sides are still far apart on key issues, and the league still appears to be negotiating in bad faith. Ross Stripling, the Blue Jay’s player’s union representative, said that the owners were “trying to sneak things through” in the fine print that were never discussed. Moreover, the league wasted the first 43 days after the old CBA expired, and they only made one offer in the first 70.

MLB isn’t canceling games out of necessity, either. It’s possible to continue play under the sunset provisions of the old CBA. Rob Manfred and his bosses are just trying to put pressure on the union by withholding paychecks. They haven’t been negotiating so much as repackaging the same deal and saying “take it or leave it.”

Bruce Meyer, the union’s lead negotiator, plans to fight for player pay during the canceled games because the players made an effort to get a deal done and they’re not the ones lopping games off the schedule. It’s hard to imagine the league will acquiesce.

It’s still possible that these two series are all that’s lost from the 2022 season, but for that to happen, a deal would have to be made within the next week or so.

Rob Arthur | Baseball Prospectus: Something you’ll hear from dummies is that rising player salaries will lead to increased ticket costs, but that isn’t the case. If it were, teams like Guardians, Rangers, and Mariners would have seen their ticket prices go down after slashing payroll in half.

Grant Brisbee | The Athletic $: In case you still feel like the players are partially to blame for the canceled games, here’s a reminder that their asks weren’t extreme. Their proposals were more than fair and really pretty owner-friendly.