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MLB News and Notes for February 28

As the calendar prepares to turn to March, we should be enjoying spring training games as we anxiously await the Opening Day.

Instead, the focus has shifted from excitement to concern that Opening Day may be pushed back. With so much angst about the current state of the lockout, let’s take a look at the current negotiations as well as other news from around MLB.

Will MLB Season Start On Time?

Since December 2, Major League Baseball has been non-existent thanks to a lockout imposed by MLB owners. While the lockout itself could be lifted at any point, it appears that MLB is prepared to keep it in place until a new collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon.

The problem is that both sides appear to be far apart on some of the most critical issues. For instance, the players would like to see the luxury tax significantly raised, while owners are resistant to shifting it from what it has currently been.

Other issues revolve around topics like service time manipulation, expanded playoffs, revenue sharing, and a litany of other topics.

This last week, the two sides agreed to meet at the table every day. While these daily meetings have happened, it is still questionable whether an agreement is imminent.

In fact, on Saturday, the mood was reported by several as hostile, with The Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes even reporting that the players were considering leaving.

While there were no proposals exchanged, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that meetings on Sunday were significantly better, with some MLB officials calling the day “productive.”

This is obviously significant as Monday is the self-imposed deadline by MLB for an agreement to be made. If not, MLB has indicated that regular-season games will be canceled without compensation for the players.

While Monday is a big day in terms of an agreement, there appears to be enough separation that a postponement of the season may be an increasing reality.

Once a deal is struck, there still has to be a grace period for signings, trades, etc., followed by spring training and finally Opening Day.

Roberts Likely To Get Extension With Los Angeles

According to Nightengale of USA Today, it appears that Dave Roberts is likely to receive a contract extension by the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the beginning of the season.

Roberts has been the club’s manager since 2016. In that time, he is 542-329 (good for a .622 winning percentage). He also led the team to a World Series championship in 2020.

In 2021, the Dodgers finished the season with the second-best record in the majors (106-56), but the best record was held by their division rivals, the San Francisco Giants.

While the Dodgers fell short in the postseason, the team is the favorite to win the 2022 World Series at +600.

Gardner Wants To Return To Yankees

At 38-years-old, it appears that Brett Gardner thinks he still has some baseball left in him. Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported on Saturday that Gardner would like to return to the Bronx Bombers.

Since breaking into the league in 2008, Gardner has spent all 14 years of his career in New York. In that span, he has accumulated 139 home runs, 578 runs batted in, 943 runs, and 274 stolen bases, all while hitting .256/.342/.398.

In the last couple of seasons, Gardner has really started to show his age, though. In 2021, he hit just .222/.327/.362 with ten home runs, 39 runs batted in, and 47 runs in 387 at bats.

Still, as a respected veteran, Gardner may continue to be beneficial to the club in a part-time role. He is also not immune to signing short-term extensions as he has signed a one-year deal each of the last three seasons with the Yankees.

Currently, the Yankees are tied for the fifth-best odds of winning the World Series at +1200.

For an organization that leads the majors in World Series titles (27), they have been in a bit of a drought, having not won since 2009. While Gardner does have one title under his belt, he would love to add another one for the Yankees before he calls it a career.

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