Home » News » MLB Lockout Update: Universal DH, Draft Lottery, Optimism Highlight Manfred’s Press Conference

MLB Lockout Update: Universal DH, Draft Lottery, Optimism Highlight Manfred’s Press Conference

by Jordan Lazowski

As we get closer and closer to the anticipated start of Spring Training without a signed Collective Bargaining Agreement, fans have continued to express their concerns over delays of both Spring Training and 2022 Opening Day. In today’s press conference, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced, among other things, optimism towards operations still beginning on time.

This alone was a change in tone from reports as recent as yesterday, which expressed that Manfred was expected to announce that Spring Training would be delayed. According to Manfred, once the lockout ends, it would take about a week for Spring Training to begin. From there, the players would need just four weeks to get ready.

Looking at this timeline puts an approximate deadline for an agreement to be the last week of February or, at the very latest, early March.

Among other topics from Manfred’s press conference:

1. Both MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to a Universal DH as well as the elimination of draft pick compensation for signing players who declined a Qualifying Offer. This second point especially is meant to eliminate any teams from being dissuaded from signing MLB free agents due to the potential loss of a draft pick.

2. MLB and the MLBPA also agreed to a draft lottery to address player concerns on “tanking.” The structure of this lottery is still unknown, but more information will come in the near future.

3. Manfred and MLB owners are confident that the proposal they will bring to the MLBPA this weekend is one that will make substantial progress towards an agreement. Manfred expects this “good faith” proposal to move what has become a stagnant process forward.

4. Even if Spring Training/Opening Day is delayed, Manfred believes it is in the game’s best interest to avoid the cancellation of games at all costs. These are pretty strong words from Manfred – ones I think we all agree with.

5. There will also likely be changes to the competitive-balance tax structure and the associated penalties for exceeding the luxury tax. More information on this to come.

6. Manfred candidly confessed to a “contentious” relationship with Tony Clark – though, this is likely not news to anyone who has been following along. He also expressed his experience from having negotiated these deals in the past as a reason he is confident in getting a deal done for today’s game.

With all this new information, eyes turn towards the headlines on Saturday, when the MLBPA and MLB will meet again to discuss the aforementioned proposal. The longer this deal takes, however, the crazier the post-lockout world becomes. There are still hundreds of free agents that need to be signed, dozens of trades that will need to go through, and the league will still be adjusting to what could be a different landscape on the fly – heck, NL teams will now need to prepare for how to handle the Universal DH situation, so they are likely going back to the drawing board today.

All of that craziness is yet to come. For now, here’s hope that positive news comes from negotiations on Saturday.

Follow us at @SoxOn35th for more updates!

Featured Photo: @MLBONFOX / Twitter

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