We have some news on the lockout front today, as well as what is hopefully a sign that there will be some progress made in the near future.
MLB officially announced today that spring games will start no earlier than March 5, with any games scheduled before that date canceled. That wipes out the first week or so of potential games.
On the plus side, MLB and the MLBPA will reportedly begin holding daily meetings beginning on Monday. Per Jeff Passan, multiple owners and players are flying in in anticipation of the sessions, as the two sides try to work to avoid a delay to the start of the season.
MLB has previously said that, in order for the 2022 season to start on time, the lockout would have to end by February 28. While a complete CBA would not necessarily have to be signed off on, there would have to at least be a signed agreement on the major terms, which would then be able to be incorporated into the final official CBA.
The MLBPA reportedly told MLB that expanded playoffs, which have been agreed to by the two sides (with a disagreement on the number of teams involved), would be off the table for 2022 if the season is delayed and players end up not getting paid for a full season. Given that the owners are the beneficiaries of the financial windfall from expanded playoffs, and there has been some thought that the owners would be willing to take a bit of a hit at the beginning of the year in missing games because they could make the money back with the expanded playoffs, this threat may help get some movement from the ownership side.