Major League Baseball has entered a work stoppage for the time since 1994-95. On Thursday morning, MLB announced the league has commenced a lockout of its players after the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired at 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday. This ends more than 26 years of labor peace, and teams will not be allowed to sign free agents, offer contract extensions, release players or offer trades.
"Today is a difficult day for baseball, but as I have said all year, there is a path to a fair agreement, and we will find it," Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. "I do not doubt the League and the Players share a fundamental appreciation for this game and a commitment to its fans. I remain optimistic that both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow, protect, and strengthen the game we love."
The MLB and MLBPA met for 45 minutes Wednesday morning. The two sides met later in the day, but the meeting only lasted seven minutes after an agreement couldn't; be reached. The MLBPA called the lockout a "dramatic measure, regardless of the timing."
"It was the owners' choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not Just Players, but the game and industry as a whole," the MLBPA said in its statement, per ESPN. "These tactics are not new. We have been here before, and Players have risen to the occasion time and again — guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here."
MLB.com reported that the league's proposal last week during negotiations include an NBA-style draft lottery, a universal designated hitter, an increase to the minimum player salary, an increase to the competitive balance tax threshold and the elimination of the qualifying system. The league also offered a 14-postseason format which would have increased the CBT threshold as high as $220 million. The union wanted a CBT threshold of $245 million and a 12-team expanded postseason.
The previous work stoppage came in 1994 when the players went on strike. It led to the 1994 World Series being canceled and a shortened the 1995 season as teams played 144 games instead of 162. Before the strike, there was a lockout in 1990 that lasted 32 days. No games were canceled but the start of the 1990 season was pushed back a week.