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MLBPA, MLB disagree on delay, 2021 schedule to start as planned

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Players reject owners proposal to postpone start of spring training and regular season

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Seattle Mariners Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Major League Baseball’s bid to delay the start of the 2021 season was formally rejected by the MLB Players Association on Monday, with both sides moving toward spring training reporting dates that are now roughly two weeks away.

Owners proposed to delay the start of spring training from February 17 to March 22, and for Opening Day to move from April 1 to April 29, but on Monday that was denied by the players’ union.

“Under the proposal, the end of the season would be delayed one week, the regular season would be shortened to 154 games and all 30 teams would be required to play several doubleheaders,” the MLBPA said in a statement. “Players would also be required to accept previously rejected proposals that link expanded playoffs with expansion of the designated hitter.

“Although Player salaries would not be initially prorated to a 154-game regular season, MLB’s proposal offers no salary or service time protections in the event of further delays, interruptions, or cancellation of the season.

“The MLBPA Executive Board and Player leadership reviewed and discussed the owners’ proposal throughout the weekend and today. The clear-cut result of these deliberations is that Players will not accept MLB’s proposal, will instead continue preparations for an on-time start to the 2021 season, and will accept MLB’s commitment to again direct its Clubs to prepare for an on-time start.”

Major League Baseball responded with a statement of its own.

“The offer included starting the regular season on April 29 and playing a 154-game schedule that would pay players in full as if playing 162 games. We also proposed two changes from the 2020 season that were overwhelmingly popular with our fans – for this season only, featuring a modified expanded Postseason (seven teams per League) and the universal designated hitter rule.

“This was a good deal that reflected the best interests of everyone involved in the sport by merely moving the calendar of the season back one month for health and safety reasons without impacting any rights either the players or the Clubs currently have under the Basic Agreement or Uniform Player’s Contract for pay and service time.

“In light of the MLBPA’s rejection of our proposal, and their refusal to counter our revised offer this afternoon, we are moving forward and instructing our Clubs to report for an on-time start to Spring Training and the Championship Season, subject to reaching an agreement on health and safety protocols.”

So now we proceed as planned, with the full spring training and 162-game season. The Angels haven’t yet announced reporting dates for spring training in Tempe, but their Cactus League schedule starts on Saturday, February 27 against the Giants in Scottsdale.

Opening Day for the Angels is at home this year, hosting the White Sox at The Big A on April 1.