MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hinted at the potential benefit of a lockout should league owners and the MLB Players Association fail to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement by Dec. 2. On Thursday, Manfred said that “an offseason lockout that moves the process forward is different than a labor dispute that costs games. I don’t think ’94 worked out too great for anybody. I think we need to look at other sports. The pattern has become to control the timing of the labor dispute and try to minimize the prospect of actual disruption of the season. That’s what it’s about. It’s avoiding doing damage to the season.”
Negotiations between owners and the players’ union have been contentious for some time, but a work stoppage “appears almost certain to start” when the current CBA expires before midnight Dec. 2.
Manfred said Thursday the owners haven’t chosen a course of action just yet: “We will not—did not make today, and will not make a decision as to what’s next. We’re focused on making an agreement prior to Dec. 1.”
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