MLB and the Players Association are still in their tiresome back-and-forth, negotiating to see if they can come up with a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after the previous one expired on December 1.
The league implemented a lockout, as a means to put some pressure on the players to negotiate, so transactions are currently not allowed until there is a new CBA.
Players are the ones losing the most in the current scenario, because spring training and Opening Day are getting closer.
If there is no season, or at least until the start of the campaign, players won’t earn money.
Some of them may look to play in Japan or South Korea this year to secure their payday.
At this point, spring training starting on time sounds like an unlikely scenario.
Most camps were scheduled to open next week, and the first spring training games were supposed to be on February 26.
That won’t happen if MLB and the union don’t agree to a deal soon.
Reality, and common sense, indicates that at least two or three weeks of spring training will start the second both sides reach a deal.
But let’s make a few predictions about potential start dates for the 2022 MLB season.
3. March 31
The season starting on March 31 remains a best-case scenario, although it’s looking more and more unlikely with each passing day.
March 31 is the scheduled date for the start of the season in a perfect world with no lockout.
Just so you guys know… The league could lift the lockout and everything could still start on time. Bargaining could continue with spring training and the regular season underway. No agreement doesn’t mean no baseball. A lockout means no baseball. MLB fears a Union strike.
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) February 4, 2022
That’s not the case, though.
For the season to start on that date, there will need to be a solution for the MLB-union dispute this week or next.
While it’s possible, the odds of that happening are not particularly good.
Players, and fans, still hold out some hope, though.
2. May 1
The current course of negotiations indicate that this is actually one of the likeliest dates for the season to start.
After all, players and owners aren’t close on any of the truly important points of discussion.
They haven’t even agreed on minimum salary (and they are worlds apart), tanking regulations, service time manipulation issues, and, perhaps one of the biggest obstacles in the way of a deal, the competitive balance tax.
The bonus pool to compensate the best players between zero and three years of service time is still very much a work in progress.
There are too many things to work on, and it could take a while for both parties to get there.
1. June 1
It would be a real bummer if the current labor negotiations extended well into May.
But we know the characters by now, most notably the owners.
They aren’t really trying to negotiate: they started a lockout, and seeing how the players wouldn’t budge on their firm (and fair) demands, they are now eager to bring third parties into the talks.
The conflict has the potential to get really ugly, and if that happens, we are looking, at least, at another month and half of awkward, painful talks.
Starting the season on June 1 would mean two months’ worth of games would have been missed.
Wish I shared the optimism of my fellow NYY fans awaiting the 2022 MLB season.I don’t see starting until the summer months if we’re lucky. I’ll take another 60-game season before a total wipeout. But I don’t see pitchers & catchers reporting in Feb. Wish I did, but I don’t see it
— Spencer S:Musican,NYY-Nets-Jets fan (@Muzixndmd) December 9, 2021
It’s still a possibility, given the owners’ inability to negotiate in good faith.