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Meeting between MLB owners, players yields little to no progress in ending lockout, reports say

Commissioner Rob Manfred during a news conference in

Commissioner Rob Manfred during a news conference in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 2, 2021. Credit: AP/LM Otero

Major League Baseball’s players and owners got back to the virtual bargaining table on Thursday. But according to multiple reports, little to no progress was made on ending the lockout that threatens to delay the start of spring training next month and perhaps the regular season, too.

The talks lasted about an hour and included new proposals from the owners to address the core economic issues that are dividing the sides, The Associated Press reported.

Representatives of the Players Association reportedly did not jump for joy at the new proposals and told MLB it will respond at a later date.

Two dates important to the 2022 season already have been determined: Spring training camps are supposed to open on Feb. 16 and Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.

MLB’s proposal contained no movement on free-agent eligibility, luxury tax thresholds or revenue sharing, according to the AP.

Other issues on how to slice the multibillion-dollar pie include the union’s concern about clubs’ "tanking" and keeping their payrolls low; service-time manipulation and lower pay of young players before they become arbitration-eligible; MLB’s wish to expand the postseason to 14 teams; the universal designated hitter, and pace of play.

In a nod to the COVID-19 Omicron surge, the meeting was held via teleconference. The last time the sides met face-to-face was on Dec. 1 in Irving, Texas, in a fruitless session that lasted seven minutes.

MLB locked out the players on Dec. 2 to begin the sport’s first labor stoppage since 1995, when the devastating strike from the year before that canceled the World Series ended.

Mets great Keith Hernandez, who was a union stalwart as a player, said on Wednesday that he expects the parties to eventually strike a deal.

"It’s always positioning," Hernandez said. "It’s always about the money, and from both sides. To me, it’s you don’t want to kill the golden goose. I think you’ve got to have a strong memory of the World Series strike in ’94 that left a very, very bad taste in baseball fans’ mouth. Took a long time for the fans to get over that. I think both sides have to consider that. My feeling is it always comes down to the 11th hour and I think that they’ll find a way to get the season going."

New York Sports