A baseball with the MLB logo is seen at Citizens Bank...

A baseball with the MLB logo is seen at Citizens Bank Park before a game between the Nationals and Phillies on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia. Credit: TNS/Mitchell Leff

Rob Manfred’s "disastrous outcome" has become a yet bigger disaster.

Major League Baseball dropped another two series from the schedule — pushing back Opening Day an additional week to April 14 — after labor negotiations with the players’ union on Wednesday fell apart over the league’s desire to implement an international amateur draft.

MLB had dangled the promise of salvaging a full, 162-game season if the sides settled on a new collective bargaining agreement by midweek. But after the 98th day of the owners’ lockout of their players, that possibility is more unlikely than ever, complicating future talks if and when the Players Association seeks to regain missed pay and service time.

The parties remained in communication late Wednesday, a league official said, specifically about the addition of the international draft and the dropping of the draft-pick compensation system for free agents, which MLB has tied together in its proposals. MLB has refused to address other pieces of the CBA until that problem is resolved.

"The Clubs went to extraordinary lengths to meet the substantial demands of the MLBPA," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, referring to the "last-ditch effort" to save the full season. "On the key economic issues that have posed stumbling blocks, the Clubs proposed ways to bridge gaps to preserve a full schedule. Regrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal.

"We have the utmost respect for our players and hope they will ultimately choose to accept the fair agreement they have been offered."

Notably, MLB said in its news release that the two more series "are being removed from the schedule." It never said canceled, leaving semantic wiggle room to re-add some of the missed games. An MLB spokesman said there was no hidden meaning in the word choice.

The Players Association characterized the owners’ decision as "completely unnecessary."

"After making a set of comprehensive proposals to the league earlier this afternoon, and being told substantive responses were forthcoming, Players have yet to hear back," the Players Association said in a statement. "Our top priority remains the finalization of a fair contract for all Players, and we will continue negotiations toward that end."

For the Yankees, the newest batch of scrapped games means losing their home opener and a three-game series against the Red Sox, plus four home contests against the Blue Jays. For the Mets, a road trip through Washington (four games) and Philadelphia (three) is off.

As the schedule exists now, the Mets would open the season at Citi Field against the Diamondbacks on April 15 — Jackie Robinson Day and the 75th anniversary of Robinson breaking the majors’ color barrier. The Yankees also would have Opening Day then, in Baltimore against the Orioles, and play their first home game April 22 versus the Guardians.

The Wednesday disappointment came after another round of what kind of, sort of looked like momentum. Like last week, MLB said it had a deadline — this time Tuesday — before dropping more games. Also like last week, when negotiations on deadline day lasted into early the next morning — this time 3 a.m. Wednesday — the league offered an extension. But when the parties again failed to come to agreement, MLB made good on its threat, discarding two series in addition to the two removed last week.

MLB and the Players Association mostly closed the massive gaps on the key economic issues: luxury-tax thresholds, the pre-arbitration bonus pool, minimum salaries.

But the "major structural issue," in the words of one league official, became the international draft, which MLB wanted to start in 2024 and tied in its proposal to the dropping of draft-pick compensation for free agents.

MLB presented the Players Association with three options, according to people familiar with the situation:

* Agree to an international draft, and the draft-pick compensation goes away

* Keep the status quo, with draft-pick compensation remaining and no international draft

* Lose the draft-pick compensation, and the Players Association has until Nov. 15 to mull the international draft concept. If it didn’t agree by then, MLB would be able to opt out of the CBA after the 2024 season, two years early.

The Players Association, which has declined MLB’s consistent pitches on an international draft for months, chose none of the above, instead suggesting to in effect leaving that issue to next offseason.

A draft would overhaul the international amateur signing system that has been in place for decades, an arrangement rife with routine corruption that MLB officials said is beyond their ability to repair.

Players officially aren’t allowed to sign with teams until they turn 16, but teams typically make agreements with players and their trainers years before they are eligible. Other problems include steroid use and illegal kickbacks for trainers for funneling certain players to certain teams. Everyone in the industry knows the system has issues, and MLB says it has tried to clean it up.

An MLB official said their draft suggestion would maintain the number of players who sign with clubs (about 1,000, including more than 600 draftees and the rest undrafted free agents) and give those players an additional $17 million at least annually.

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