We will inevitably see a delay to spring training and the MLB regular season after weekend negotiations between MLB owners and the players association ended with no deal—so plan accordingly.
A weekend meeting saw a new proposal from MLB presented to the players, representing some incremental movement toward a deal. The two sides are far apart on some major issues, however, and with full squads set to report in a week, we’re looking at the fairly inevitable likelihood spring training will be delayed, along with the regular season. MLB hasn’t made any announcement to that effect, however. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that spring training will need to run four weeks, however, so it’s not clear whether spring training would be merely delayed or shortened. Right now spring-training games run a few days over four weeks.
So what’s most likely? Spring-training games will be delayed, and more negotiations are not yet scheduled—which means this week’s date of Feb. 15 when pitchers and catchers are set to report will be missed. (That Feb. 15 date is a bit of a red herring; full squads aren’t due to report until Feb. 21.) The players association was presented with a new set of drop-dead rates needed to start the season on March 31.
Until we have more solid information about any changes to the spring-training schedule, there’s really nothing to do besides wait for some actionable data. The good news is that negotiations are still ongoing and neither side is negotiating in the press. If you’re in Arizona or Florida, there’s really nothing to do but wait. If you’re not in Arizona or Florida, we still recommend making very tentative plans for a trip closer to the end of March than the beginning, and be sure to make reservations that are refundable or easily canceled.