Players Association likely to reject expanded playoffs without a full 2022 season

In addition to MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) needing to find common ground on the economy for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), an array of other details need to be ironed out.

Chief among them are the potential — and expected — additions of a universal designated hitter and an expanded postseason. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently suggested both sides are in agreement for the National League to adopt the DH, although that has yet to be finalized.

As for expanding the playoff field, MLB team owners would prefer a format with 14 teams and the union countered at 12.

A general assumption has been that more playoff teams would be added with a new CBA, but according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.cathis will not be true for 2022 if a full regular season is not played:

Spring training camps didn’t open as scheduled last week and games won’t be played until at least Saturday, March 5. This was long overdue but only made official last weekend.

“We regret that, with no collective agreement in place, we have had to postpone the start of spring training games to Saturday March 5th at the earliest. All 30 clubs are united in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands,” MLB said in its statement.

“The clubs have adopted a uniform policy which provides a full refund option to fans who have purchased tickets from the club for any spring training matches which are not taking place. We are committed to reaching a fair agreement for each party.

“Owners’ Negotiating Committee members will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association on Monday and will stay every day for the next week to negotiate and work hard to start the season on time.”

Meanwhile, MLB reportedly informed the union that it viewed Feb. 28 as the deadline for implementing a new CBA and would avoid delaying the March 31 opening day.

Turner hopes for strike agreement between MLB and Players Association

As time continues to tick away, Justin Turner recently expressed optimism that the two sides will agree on a CBA in time to play a full season.

“Honestly, I’m not going to complain about a short spring training, but I hope to have 162 (games) complete,” he said. “I know 2020, obviously the pandemic hit, but playing a 60-game season wasn’t good for anyone.

“It wasn’t good for the players, it wasn’t good for the owners, so hopefully everyone realizes that the best thing for everyone – especially our fans, who are the people most important in all of this – is to play a 162-game season.

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Andrew B. Reiter