For the first time since the MLB ended a lockout on December 2nd of 2021 MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred met with the media earlier this morning to discuss the current state of the league. This was an opportunity for fans to get an insight into where things stand in terms of the CBA. I think the overarching theme of the press conference was optimism. Although everything that was said we have to take with a grain of salt and realize that there are two sides to this and we only heard from one. Although let’s break it down and see how this affects the Rangers and Major League Baseball.
Significant News – A few pieces of significant information were realized by Manfred today. One being that the MLB and the MLBPA has mutually agreed to a universal DH. This will end the era of pitchers hitting in the national league. This also affects the Rangers’ pursuit of players like Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber as teams in the National League are going to be more aggressive trying to land them with an extra spot in the lineup. Manfred also dropped major news on a potential timetable for Spring Training. Manfred said that the MLB would need at least four weeks of Spring Training and that it would take place less than a week from a potential agreement. This is huge for baseball fans because we know that if an agreement happens then Spring Training can start quickly and things can get back to normal fast. With that begin said Spring Training would need to begin March 1st for the original date of March 31st to uphold.
Reasons for optimism – Pretty early on in the conference Manfred referred to himself as an optimist which lead to hope during the press conference. Manfred hinted multiple times at the end of the lockout. Manfred stated that the MLB will make additional moves towards an agreement during the MLB and MLBPA meeting on Saturday. He added, “ You’re always one breakthrough away from making an agreement”. He also said that there is “The status of Spring Training is no change right now. As much as we hate on Manfred (rightfully) so we have to give him some credit for giving optimism to the fans.
Reason for caution – Just like I mentioned earlier there are still two sides to this story. We still have to hear the players’ reactions to all of this. They could hear the offer on Saturday and we could be no were close to an agreement or we could have a deal on Saturday, we just don’t know and we will have to wait and see. Another thing to note is that we have to take the things that Manfred said with a grain of salt. There is a good chance that some or most of the stuff that he was saying was a media grab in order to restore hope to the fans and try to attempt to keep people drawn to baseball and not into sports like basketball and hockey.