NBC Sports

Manfred says MLB games not delayed yet, universal DH coming

NBC Sports

If you have tickets to the Feb. 26 Cactus League opener at Scottsdale Stadium, you're likely to be disappointed. If you hoped to watch Logan Webb hit every five days this season, you're definitely going to be disappointed. 

Those were some of the takeaways Thursday morning as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred held a rare press conference after owners' meetings in Orlando. Manfred said the owners have agreed to a universal DH and he isn't ready to say spring training will be delayed, although the calendar certainly tells a different story.

The Giants and 29 other teams were originally scheduled to report to camp next week, but instead, the lockout goes on. Manfred said the owners will make their next proposal on Saturday and he's hopeful a 162-game season will start on time.

"I am an optimist and I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule," he said. 

Whenever the season starts, there will be some notable changes. Manfred said owners have agreed as a group on some issues, including the implementation of a universal DH, something that has long been expected for 2022. That means that Webb's homer in Game 162 might be the last bomb by a pitcher -- not counting Shohei Ohtani -- for a while:

The universal DH trends on Twitter more than other topics, but it does not get the sides much closer to a deal. This is simply about economics, and the players don't feel that the owners have gotten anywhere close to making a reasonable offer. 


Manfred didn't offer many specifics about economics on Thursday, but he expressed optimism about the offer that's coming on Saturday. "You're always one breakthrough away from making an agreement," he said. Even a miracle, though, would mean a delayed spring training. 

RELATED: Why Posey's retirement didn't shock former Giants star Clark

Manfred estimated that if a deal is agreed upon at some point soon, camps could open within a week, although even that timetable means the lockout -- which was imposed by the owners on Dec. 1 -- has already pushed back spring training. MLB believes teams would need about four weeks to prepare for a regular season, which begins March 31 in San Diego for the Giants. By that timeline, a deal would need to be reached within the next couple of weeks.

The next update will come Saturday, which ordinarily would have served as FanFest day for the Giants. 

"Somebody makes a move and that's why we'll make additional moves on Saturday that create flexibility on the other side, and what seems like a big gap on this topic or that topic isn't such a big gap anymore," Manfred said Thursday. 

At the moment, though, it's still a very, very big gap. 

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast