Report: On-time Spring Training start in jeopardy

The chances of Spring Training starting on time took a hit after the first day of talks in more than a month ended with a thud on Thursday, ESPN reported.

MLB and the MLBPA met for the first time since negotiations toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement broke off Dec. 1 with results less than positive, per the report. MLB locked out players on Dec. 2.

MLB’s proposal on Thursday was not received well, per the report. How soon the union puts forth a counter proposal is the next threat to Spring Training, scheduled to start Feb. 16.

This is the first baseball work stoppage since a strike that began on Aug. 12, 1994. It led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and didn’t end until April 2, 1995.

Since then, the sides had hammered out five collective bargaining agreements without any shutdowns.

Among the reported sticking points for a new CBA is the MLBPA’s desire for free agency after five major league seasons for players 29 1/2 years old or older. The longstanding policy has been for players to need six years of service time to reach free agency.

The players also want to reach arbitration eligibility sooner than the current three-year standard. Another push from the union is to increase the salary threshold at which teams must pay a luxury tax.

Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.

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