Openers in jeopardy after fruitless negotiating session


The chance of spring training games starting on time as scheduled looks remote after MLB and players union's latest bargaining session yielded no progress in labor negotiations.

Never mind an on-time start to the regular season is in jeopardy.

MLB and the union met in New York Thursday afternoon, a bargaining session that lasted only 15 minutes.

The union made a counterproposal to the league's most recent offer, which MLB called a "non-starter," according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

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The union increased its proposal for a bonus pool for productive pre-arbitration players to $115 million, up from $100 million in past negotiating sessions, in exchange for limiting the number of players who would be arbitration eligible after two years of service time.

Spring training, which was scheduled to open this week with pitchers and catchers reporting to camps, is already delayed, and the start of Cactus League and Grapefruit League play looks increasingly likely to be postponed. The first exhibition games are scheduled for Feb. 26.

The regular season starting on time also is looking increasingly unlikely, barring an agreement in the next week. Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week MLB anticipates needing four weeks of spring training before the regular season, and less than a week to open camps after a labor deal is reached.

But the league and union are far apart on key issues, including the biggest issue: the luxury tax.


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Opening Day is scheduled for March 31. 

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