Rob Manfred, MLB’s Commissioner earning some $11 million per year, spoke to reporters from a Waldorf Astoria hotel today about the state of the lockout. There were generalizations, vague insults, questionable mathematics, glimmers of optimism, and very few absolutes revealed, though the one thing that remains concrete is that there is no official delay - or postponement - of the MLB schedule as of yet.
That means spring training has not yet been officially pushed back, even though pitchers and catchers would be expected to report under normal circumstances in the coming days. Opening Day, too, is still currently penciled in as planned, though the run up to it certainly could take on a much different shape if there is no new CBA reached between MLB and the MLBPA on the double.
Below are some snippets of information gleaned from Manfred’s talk with the media, courtesy of tweeters who tweet tweets on Twitter who managed to either be there or follow along.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan had the Manfred quote that’s the biggest takeaway for now, in that it’s still just a stalemate that hasn’t deleted anything - yet.
“The status of spring training is no change right now,” Rob Manfred says.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 10, 2022
Boston Globe reporter Michael Silverman relayed that Saturday will feature a ‘good-faith’ proposal from MLB back to the players, the kind of quote that makes a fairly casual admission that their first proposals were crap and posturing only.
Manfred: "We're going to make a good-faith" proposal on Saturday. "It's a good proposal."— Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) February 10, 2022
The McPaper’s Bob Nightengale caught Manfred’s other definitive acknowledgements - that the universal DH is here and that draft pick compensation has been eliminated. (I’m assuming that’s in regards to signing free agents and not an elimination of Competitive Balance picks, but I cannot confirm that just yet.)
Rob Manfred says the owners have officially accepted a universal DH while eliminating draft compensation for draft picks.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 10, 2022
Manfred said this, which is a completely bollocks statement (as relayed by The Score’s Travis Sawchik):
Manfred on if owning a team is lucrative:— Travis Sawchik (@Travis_Sawchik) February 10, 2022
"Historically, (the return) is below what you'd expect to get in the stock market."
Finally, Dallas Morning News reporter Evan Grant reports that Manfred feels four weeks of spring training would be adequate, giving you a rough expectation of when Cactus and Grapefruit League play would need to begin to keep Opening Day on-track as scheduled.
Manfred indicates that four weeks of spring training would be satisfactory.— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) February 10, 2022
Also indicates that it could be less than a week from settlement to opening camps.
But still need an agreement to get to any of that.
While there was some confusion in the wording, it was also confirmed that Manfred confirmed that no spring training games - at least, no [quote unquote] big league spring training games - will take place without big league players. In other words, the MLB clubs aren’t going to try to stage spring training with minor leaguers and scabs as if nothing is going on and sell it as real, big league spring training games, so those won’t begin until the real big leaguers are no longer locked out. Ideally, the lockout would end with pen strokes on a brand new CBA, but there’s also the possibility that they get back on the field with some sort of memorandum of understanding that ends the lockout while the new CBA is still being ironed out.
I still can’t believe Manfred said owning a baseball team has been a worse investment than the stock market. That’s me taking a momentary pause to process, since it’s still unbelievable.
Anyway, a few bits of concrete news and a lot of ‘not bad news, but not good news either’ from the commish today. It appears that Saturday will be our next chance to get a glimpse into how these two sides stand, but in the meantime you can ponder how fun it is that when the National League finally decided to adopt the DH, the Reds have a roster that’s built to need four or five DH spots in the lineup everyday.