In the midst of a lockout and ensuing labor negotiations, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred spoke Thursday to address the latest surrounding the labor discussions.
Regarding the regular season, Manfred remains optimistic that the start of the regular season will begin on time at the end of March. The commissioner said, “I consider missing games as a disastrous outcome for this industry.”
Will both sides be able to avoid that disastrous outcome? The league is set to make their latest proposal to the union on Saturday, one he calls a “good faith” proposal, and the first since the union last made their proposal on the first of this month. He feels that this is a good proposal that will “move the process forward.”
Even with the delayed response as well as the initial 42 days of of no meetings that started the lockout, Manfred said, “Phones work two ways,” showing that he feels the union is as much at fault as the league.
While many speculated that the start of spring training would be postponed with just days to go before the scheduled report dates, Manfred said, “the status of spring training is no change right now.” If a deal is reached on Saturday, Manfred indicated that spring training will begin on Tuesday. Additionally regarding spring training, Manfred also stated that he doesn’t plan on using replacement players if it did drag on to that point. They are currently hoping for a four-week spring training, so the pressure is on to strike a deal.
Saturday will be crucial in telling if spring training will begin on time or not. It is reaching the point where a significant breakthrough would be needed to help kickstart more regular discussions that see major signs of progress. The pressure is on.