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Elephant Rumblings: Opening Day postponed further as international draft spoils bargaining

MLB news roundup

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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

What a Thursday it is, Athletics Nation.

April 14 is now the earliest we could see MLB players take the field, as after negotiation sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, MLB and MLBPA could not come to terms with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This delay is a bit different than last week’s initial MLB-set deadline, as by Wednesday afternoon both sides had nearly met in the middle for much of the numbers-based elements of a new CBA. MLB adding on an international player draft to yesterday’s proposal turned what had again seemed like a promising series of exchanges into a further delay of the season. A similar last-minute addition of terms by MLB was part of what held up talks last week and caused the initial delay of the season, when they submitted rules changes into the CBA that had not been discussed prior. An international player draft has seemed like an inevitability since the last CBA was signed in 2016, but it had not entered the current bargaining in a major way until this week.

The Players Association’s hesitance to immediately agree to an international draft is by no means shocking. Even if it were to wait until 2024 to go into effect as proposed by MLB, there are many layers and impacts to a new player draft that need to be considered. The owners also tied the international draft to the union’s request to remove the qualifying offer and its associated compensation on the amateur draft. MLBPA’s need to review their options led to the owners providing an ultimatum, with a 162-game season in the balance:

The players provided a counter-offer rather than accepting any one of MLB’s three options, and the league immediately announced the further removal of games from the calendar, a statement that MLBPA took umbrage to as they wished to keep negotiating.

The response from MLB now adds complexity to negotiations going forward as we have hit the point where 162 games cannot be feasibly played within the now-available timespan for a season — barring major upheaval to the schedule post-CBA signing. This means that the amount of games played in 2022 and how players will be paid for those games becomes another piece that needs to be agreed upon in the CBA. This will be an added complication that will likely lead to further disagreement between the two sides and further delays to the season.

For now here’s how things stand:

A’s Coverage

MLB News & Interest

Best of Twitter

Players’ counter apparently came back too late for the league

This tweet is the first in a thread going into the effects of an international draft on the Dominican Republic according to David Ortiz

We are now 27 years into MLB’s latest expansion era

A 67 year old A’s artifact, in pretty great condition

A throwback clip to the 90s

Can you name the former Athletic?

The A’s helped break some ground in this Women's History Month post