The owners and MLB yesterday sought the assistance of a federal mediator to help with the ongoing (or not really ongoing) CBA negotiations. That request was subject to the MLB Players Association actually wanting to participate in mediation at this time.
They do not:
Statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association: pic.twitter.com/KBssy2e66U
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) February 4, 2022
Like I said yesterday, proceeding with a mediator could help – generally speaking – but it was a little hard to see it being a huge help when the sides are as far apart as they are right now, and without MLB having put forth much of a reasonable offer yet. I wonder if we’ll get word on the precise reasons, behind the scenes, why the players were concerned about using a mediator at this point (it is not even close to binding, after all). I’m going to presume that they simply want the owners to actually make a counter, as they apparently indicated earlier in the week that they would.
In other words, it absolutely sucks that this is about to get even worse, and there is zero question now that a big chunk of the regular season is in peril. But I do at least *understand* why the players aren’t going this route yet. They probably just want the owners to make a reasonable counter-offer.
The owners were already set to meet next week, so my guess is that we now hear nothing until then. Or, more accurately, we’re going to start hearing the really angry leaks. And then we’ll hear about whatever the owners discuss next week. What you want to see is that they come to their senses and make a reasonable counter-offer on the many outstanding issues, but I don’t think we can call anything more than a faint hope at this point. It’s about to get really bad.
UPDATE: The bizarre but expected response from MLB:
Statement from a Major League Baseball spokesperson: pic.twitter.com/RKlKVPT32W
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 4, 2022
Consider that the message is MLB saying, “No, seriously, we should use a mediator.” But they didn’t just send it to the players, they issued it publicly. Which means the actual message is: “We’re the ones that are trying, the players are not.”
Note that the players have effectively sent out the same public message. The difference? The owners locked out the players and then waited 43 days to even make an offer. Then the last round came, and the players made an offer, and now the owners will not respond to that offer. These two sides do not appear to be proceeding the same way.
In any case, like I said earlier, it feels like this is the start of a quiet period, with ugly leaks coming out from time to time. I don’t expect any actual progress from here until after the owner meetings next week, and that’s if we’re very lucky. We, the fans, haven’t been particularly lucky for a long time, so I wouldn’t count on it.