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Elephant Rumblings: Will the MLB season start on time?

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MLB: Wildcard-Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics
Oct 1, 2020; Oakland, California, USA; The video board displays A s win! after the Oakland Athletics win against the Chicago White Sox at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

Last week, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed bullish on the prospect of a timely Opening Day of the 2022 season, scheduled for March 31.

“I’m an optimist, ... I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule. … We’re doing everything we can to get a deal done for our fans,” said Manfred at Thursday’s owners meetings.

Over the weekend, MLB offered their version of “doing everything” with a laundry list of incremental concessions that closed very little of the colossal gap between the current bargaining positions of the league and the Players Association. The league’s proposal left Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic bereft of the high hopes Manfred held out.

Drellich and Rosenthal opined on Sunday that the two sides would likely need to reach an agreement by the beginning of March to allow for a shortened spring training and a timely start to the new season. But the league gave mere inches and left the players feeling “lowballed and frustrated” yet again.

One particularly stark area of disagreement concerns the pre-arbitration bonus pool. The Players Association most recently reduced their demand from $105 to $100 million, and the League matched the players’ concession in nominal terms, from $10 to $15 million. Obviously, much more ground must be given in a hurry to close the remaining $85 million in dispute by the end of February.

Whose cup will you drink from? Manfred’s glass half full of everything? Or would you rather sip sparingly from Drellich and Rosenthal’s brew of sober assessment, in case months remain before baseball commences?

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