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Could there finally be a light at the end of the tunnel in MLB-MLBPA labor negotiations? That much remains to be seen, though Marcus Stroman is pessimistic.
Stroman has long been on the owners and Rob Manfred’s case for delaying the star of spring training and — at its current course — the start of the regular season.
Manfred insisted on Thursday that neither of those are his ultimate goal. In fact, baseball’s commissioner even insisted that as of now both are scheduled to start close to on time.
“I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule,” Manfred insisted, per Jeff Passan of ESPN. “In the history of baseball, the only person who has made a labor agreement without a dispute — and I did four of them — was me.”
Manfred went on to call the potential of losing any games due to a labor dispute a “disastrous outcome.”
Marcus Stroman: Ball is in Rob Manfred’s court
Manfred took the opportunity to announce that the 2022 season would employ a universal designated hitter. But that didn’t distract from what looks to be inevitable at this point despite Manfred’s claims — a work stoppage of some length is on the horizon.
“The players are ready. Just waiting on Commander Manfred to stop ruining the game. Ofrob acting like he’s living in Gilead. Lmao may the lord open on this blessed day!” Stroman tweeted after Manfred’s press conference.
Manfred’s already-dim popularity among baseball’s players and fans has gone down considerably this offseason. While he represents the owners, Manfred is the face of this lockout. One way or another, he’s going to have to own it, as it was the owners’ decision in the first place.