Major League Baseball deputy commissioner Dan Halem arrives for a meeting in New York, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022. Negotiators for locked-out baseball players and management met in person for the first time since Dec. 1, the day before the start of the sport's first work stoppage since 1995. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Spring Training In Jeopardy as MLB Lockout Continues

As baseball season approaches and the MLB lockout officially hit two months, there is definitely concern over whether spring training will start on time.

Spring training is expected to begin on Feb. 16, with the first Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues set to start ten days later. Opening Day is set for March 31 as major free agents are still out on the market. MLB insider Tim Kurkjian says it is getting late fast.

MLB Lockout Issues

There is still plenty of work to be done with major disagreements. Most of them are based on arbitration eligibility, service-time manipulation, revenue sharing, tanking and the luxury-tax threshold.

In 2020, after the MLB season resumed, there was a three-week spring training which would likely be minimum. That would make an agreement necessary by the start of March for the season to start on time. If spring training is delayed, there will also be major questions about a 162 game schedule. The league set up seven-inning doubleheaders in the past, but that was due to COVID-19.

Affect of Delayed Spring Training

One effect of the lockout and the delayed spring training will be on free agency. While there was a wave of players signed prior to the lockout, many players are still without a team. For many minor league players that are hoping for better compensation, a shortened spring training will drastically affect their chances of making a big-league roster.

The biggest effect of delayed or shortened spring training will be on the pitchers. As most teams do, they try to stretch out their pitchers as the season approaches. If spring training is postponed or delayed, it is likely to see many starting pitchers begin the season on pitch counts. The two sides will meet again on Wednesday when they discuss non-core economic issues as it gets late quickly.

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