After weeks of negotiations in late 2021, it became evident that MLB and the Players Association would get nowhere in collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks, at least not soon.
Most teams already knew a lockout would be in place, otherwise they wouldn’t have rushed to sign free agents before December.
The previous CBA expired on December 1, so Manfred implemented a lockout.
Teams are no longer able to sign or trade players until a new CBA is agreed upon.
The worst of all are the blatant lies he told fans in a statement, published on the league’s official site on December 2.
A Statement Full Of Lies
In the statement, he said things like this:
“Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.”
The “best efforts” part is highly questionable, to say the least.
At the union press conference, Tony Clark pointedly criticized Rob Manfred for "misrepresentations" in his letter to fans:
"It would have been beneficial to the process to have spent as much time negotiating in the room (this week) as it appeared was spent on the letter."
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 2, 2021
Back then, everybody knew they weren’t actually trying too hard to reach a deal, otherwise, the sides would be much closer by now.
They just aren’t willing to concede a bigger part of the pie to the players.
The part where Manfred says he was “forced” to start a lockout is also a blow to players and fans.
Nobody forced Manfred, or owners, to implement a lockout: he did as a pressure initiative, hoping to jumpstart negotiations.
It didn’t work: it was never going to work.
He also stated this:
“This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”
Players want to be compensated for their work, and if owners are making life-changing money thanks, in large part, to the talent of the players, then they deserve a much better compensation plan.
A raise of MLB’s minimum salary is overdue, and not an insignificant one.
Over 60 percent of the league has between zero and three years of service, thus qualifying for the league minimum.
The league wants only a marginal increase (from $570,500 to $600,000), while players want $775,000.
Manfred And Owners Don’t Want To Negotiate: They Want To Impose
But Manfred has no interest in negotiating: he wants to impose the owners’ will, perhaps pressured by them.
In that statement, Manfred told another one of his signature lies: “MLB is ready to work around the clock to meet that goal. I urge the Players Association to meet us at the table.”
Players all over Twitter have clarified that they are ready to keep negotiating, while the league is asking for a federal mediator to serve as a referee in a melee.
Oh, and MLB is looking for mediation to solve something they started: the lockout.
Additionally, if MLB was “ready to work around the clock”, we would have had far more activity in December, and it was virtually a lost month.
Minutes into the lockout, Rob Manfred closed his “letter to baseball fans” with the statement below. Then MLB sat silent for 6 weeks. Now, after *limited* negotiations, they put the MLBPA in a lose-lose situation.
This is why people say, “Put people who love baseball in charge” pic.twitter.com/1anlmgnKVj
— Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) February 4, 2022
The league didn’t seem urged to bargain in December.
After the lockout was implemented, the first serious talks about the CBA came after the first week of January.
Now, the season starting on time is a risky proposition.
Manfred’s lies are behind this whole charade.