As the MLB lockout approaches the two month mark, there isn’t much to update from when it began. The two sides have barely met, though they did meet on January 13 online. The start of spring training is scheduled to be in a few weeks, but it’s looking less and less likely that will start on time. However, there is still time. ESPN reports that a face-to-face meeting is set for this week. The first meeting on January 13 focused on the league’s proposal to the players, which included a formula for paying players at two to three years and changes to the draft. However, this meeting will focus on the players’ counter proposal, which should give insight into what the players want.
Right now, concern for spring training starting on time is high, but the regular season starting on time isn’t in jeopardy yet. According to the ESPN report, there’s two main target dates ahead. To start spring training games on time, a deal would need to be finalized within two weeks, by the end of the first week of February. This would give players time to get travel plans organized, international players time to get work visas in place, and time to work around COVID-19 restrictions. However, losing some of spring training isn’t a major concern, though team owners would miss out more as spring training makes them money and players don’t start receiving pay until the start of the regular season. Over on CBS Sports, Mike Axisa gives a list of deadline dates depending on when a deal is reached. Here are the deadline dates he provides:
- February 1: Full spring training as usual, with camps opening on time.
- February 7: Full exhibition schedules with no cancelled games.
- March 1: Starting the regular season on time, which would allow for two weeks of prep and three weeks of spring training.
- March 15: A delayed Opening Day that either includes a condensed 162 game schedule or a slightly shorter schedule.
- May 1: A 100-game schedule.
- June 15: Starting around the All-Star Break with a 60 game schedule.
- August 1: The latest realistic date where some baseball season could be played this year. It would be extremely short, but there could be something.
That’s what we’re looking at heading into the next few weeks. Looking back to the COVID-shortened 2020 season, the two sides agreed to a deal around June 23 of that year, which led to the 60-game schedule that season. Unfortunately, it’s still a quiet time for baseball, and there’s not much in terms of news to report. However, with key dates approaching soon, at least some new talks should happen in the upcoming days.