As the owners continue to institute a lockout, preventing the players from showing up to work, it was announced that another week of spring training games have been cancelled. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Friday night that games for spring training have now been cancelled through at least March 18th.

That isn’t surprising. There’s still no collective bargaining agreement and until there is a new one, the owners are going to continue to lock the players out. They could lift the lockout and baseball could get started under the terms of the previous CBA – but since that would also mean there’s no luxury tax rules in place, it seems to be a non-starter (the previous CBA had a stipulation that when it expired that the luxury tax rules evaporated with it, unlike all of the other parts of it in a scenario where a new one wasn’t reached and they wanted to continue to play under the previous one). Some team owners, including the Cincinnati Reds ownership group led by Bob Castellini opposed raising the luxury tax “even a penny” in the negotiations.

There are no meetings scheduled between the owners and the players today. The lead negotiatiors for each side met on Thursday in an informal session that lasted about 90 minutes. As things stand right now we don’t have a good feeling on how long this is going to last. The more optimistic seem to think that a deal can still be reached without a long(er) lockout. But there’s plenty of people in the industry who see things extending quite a while into the regular season since ownership can miss nearly all of April before they have to start paying back regional sports networks (that they mostly have ownership stakes in) for games missed. That allows teams to not play low-attendance April games, still get the television money for those games that weren’t even played, and in theory at least, not pay the player salaries for those games, too.

There are a ton of moving parts involved. After it seeming that the players weren’t going to consider a 14-team playoff scenario, that is something that is willing to be discussed once again. The owners want 14 teams because it’s going to lead to a bigger television deal with ESPN and when it comes to ticket revenue (and all other ancillary revenues from playoffs), the owners get a much larger chunk of those benefits than the players do. The players may attempt to use those extra two teams as their last bit of leverage to strike a deal.

For now, though, we’re all sitting around and twiddling our thumbs. More games are going to be postponed. And at least for now, everyone is waiting days and days to even get back to the negotiating table.

7 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    (sigh) …

    Words are failing me right now. Kind of expected, but still very sad to actually see it in “print”.

    • Jason R Franklin

      It is rough. Truly sad to see all this going on to a supposed national pastime. Could the government get more involved? Or is that a bad, bad thing?

      There is always college ball or minor league ball. I find those more ‘real’ then what I see at the MLB level sometimes.

      • Mark Moore

        Agreed. I’m counting on MiLB to fill at least some of the gap. Waiting to hear if DD#1 gets a job with the High-A Braves again this season.

        I still think the government needs to revoke the anti-trust exemption. I know it doesn’t have direct bearing on what’s going on right now, but as part of the bigger picture, I think that would be a very good thing. Perhaps lessen the complacency of the owners a bit?

  2. Old-school

    The positive spin would be nick Lodolo is getting the organizations best coaching and attention and will be SP1 in Louisville

    Could be a huge developmental year for the big lefty

  3. Steve

    I think putting a salary floor of $120k and raising minimum salary to 800k should get it done if the CBT really won’t be moved. Honestly this may be a way to bring an equal playing field. And stop teams from tanking. Also adding a 14 team playoff would stop some teams from tanking. IMO the teams that want to pay over the CBT can but it forces teams to spend and adding more playoff teams will Stop teams from trading players at the deadline.

  4. old-school

    The Reds have taken off the schedule the first 6 games on their web site. It would seem the next 4 game series @ Braves would be implausible as well- so cross off 10 games.
    Its a 152 game schedule at best if an agreement could be reached in the next few days. If nothing is accomplished by this weekend, its really hard to think the next 9 games against Guardians/Dodgers/Padres would be played either.