MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made a public appearance on Thursday, after the owners’ meetings.
While many believed he would announce that spring training would be delayed until further notice, he said that owners would make a new, improved offer to players on Saturday.
The union and the league have been discussing the details of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for months, but they are far from getting things done.
Their stances on most topics are just too extreme.
In any case, he maintained that he had faith a deal would get wrapped up soon and that spring training, and the regular season, wouldn’t have to be delayed at all.
For the duration of the lockout (imposed by Manfred and the owners, by the way, in early December), MLB’s image in the eyes of fans and the baseball community as a whole has been severely damaged.
This position has become evident every time a reporter details the nature of their offers.
They are, in many cases, slaps in the players’ faces.
The League’s Latest Blunder
Their latest PR blunder came on Thursday.
Manfred, when asked why there was no advance in talks from December 2, when the lockout started, until the second week of January, gave an answer that raised much criticism.
“Phones work two ways,” he stated, transferring at least part of the blame to players.
Manfred on owners waiting 42 days to meet with players after imposing lockout: "Phones work two ways."
— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) February 10, 2022
Yes, phones do work both ways, but owners were the ones who locked out players and banned every transaction, and they are the ones reluctant to significantly increase the minimum salary and the bonus pool for young major leaguers.
They are the ones which, after locking things up, asked a federal mediator to “unlock” them.
The reception of those particular words by Manfred was clearly negative.
For now, things remain stalled at least until Saturday.
Manfred insisted that the offer to be put in the table over the weekend is competitive and he hopes it can get both sides significantly closer than where they currently are.
MLB Will Reportedly Make A “Good” Offer
The league has made allegedly “good” offers before, when they are, in reality, not competitive, so players remain in a wait-and-see mode.
Players such as Max Scherzer, Aaron Judge, and Gerrit Cole have attended meetings and say that the union, as a whole, is very involved in the whole process, and are “ready” to take the field once spring training is a go.
Francisco Lindor on the willingness of the MLBPA to miss any regular season games:
"We want a good deal. We want to play a full season, but if that's what it comes down to, we'll continue to come to the table and bring good things." pic.twitter.com/NMihnq3TaZ
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 10, 2022
Players won’t get robbed this time: they came ready to negotiate a fair deal that can guarantee them a bigger piece of the pie.
They are also winning the social media battle by a mile: fans have shown them love and support throughout the whole process, and continue to side with them and criticize owners for their lack of sympathy and transparency.
While players keep looking good on Twitter interactions, owners, and most specifically Manfred, have looked awful, and that will remain the case even after a deal.
Fans have lost so much in the last two or three years, and owners are, mostly, to blame.