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MLB, union meet ahead of deadline to salvage 162-game season

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a news conference after negotiations with the players' association toward a labor deal, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Manfred said he is canceling the first two series of the season that was set to begin March 31, dropping the schedule from 162 games to likely 156 games at most. Manfred said the league and union have not made plans for future negotiations. Players won't be paid for missed games. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiators for locked out players and Major League Baseball held a morning bargaining session ahead of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Tuesday deadline for a deal that would preserve a 162-game season.

Union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer and general counsel Ian Penny headed a bargaining team that left MLB’s office shortly after 11 a.m. and headed back to the players’ association, about three blocks away. Shortly after 2 p.m., Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem, Executive Vice President Morgan Sword and Senior Vice President Pat Houlihan started the three-block walk from MLB to the player’s association office.

On the 97th day of baseball’s second-longest work stoppage, the sides met in person for the third straight day. The sides planned to meet or speak later in the day.

MLB has told the union that Tuesday is the last possible day to reach an agreement that would allow a 162-game schedule, along with full salary and service time, a deadline first reported by The Athletic.

The luxury tax, the amount of the new bonus pool for pre-arbitration-eligible players and minimum salaries are among the major issues.

MLB offered Monday to lift the threshold for this year from its previous proposal of $220 million to $228 million, with certain tradeoffs, a person familiar with the negotiations said, confirming a move first reported by The Athletic. The union began the week at $238 million,

The union entered Monday asking for an $80 million bonus pool for this year and MLB was at $30 million. MLB offered a $700,000 minimum salary and the union asked for $725,000.

There were greater differences in the final four seasons of the proposed five-year deal.