At this point, it’s impossible to get hopes up about anything regarding these CBA negotiations between the league and players. There were leaks over the last 24 hours indicating things were looking promising for a deal to come to fruition, but we’ve seen this game before. It’s a fool me once type of deal, ya know? MLB set yet another deadline for Wednesday in hopes of getting a deal done without cancelling more games, and while it seems like the two sides have gotten fairly close on what had been considered the biggest issues, a potential international draft has gotten in the way. The league announced Wednesday night that they’d be cancelling all games through April 14, taking two more series off the board.
When the first two series were cancelled at the start of the month, Boston lost two home series in the division, with three-game sets against the Orioles and Rays wiped out. Now, they lose two road series, one in New York against the Yankees and the other in Detroit against the Tigers. It’s worth noting that April 15 is the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, which it goes without saying is a significant date on the baseball calendar. We’ll see what deadline is put in place to get those games in.
As alluded to above, the international draft was what held up this round of negotiating. This has been a nonstarter for the players for years now, and today there was more talk from Latin American players expressing this as a bad idea, or at least it is to implement it so quickly. The owners decided that today was a good time to attach that international draft to getting rid of the qualifying offer, and that predictably did not go over well. Ultimately, the league gave the players an ultimatum with three choices to continue negotiations.
Option one was to take the international draft with the qualifying offer being eliminated in exchange. Option two was the opposite, keeping the international system status quo while keeping the qualifying offer system as well. And the third option was to table the international draft with a decision to come in November, and the qualifying offer would be removed as well. If the two sides couldn’t agree about a draft by November, the league would have the right to reopen the entire CBA after three years instead of five.
Given how negotiations over anything the last few years have gone between these two sides, it’s not a surprise that the players were not thrilled about the owners having a chance to potentially impose another lockout in three years time. Instead, they proposed their own counter, in which the same arrangement would be in place to table the international draft until November. However, instead of the CBA reopening the qualifying offer would instead go into place again after this season. The league never responded to that counter, according to a source on the players side.
So, that’s where we stand now. I’ll get my hopes up when I see an official announcement about an agreement. Until then, you can’t fool me again.
Update (7:25 PM)
The players have released a statement regarding the cancelled games.