Manfred spoke to reporters Thursday evening, where he expressed his frustrations. “It must be finished,” he said, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. “Until I speak with the owners, I cannot give you a firm deadline. Meanwhile, Manfred told Bob Todayengale of USA Today, about his trip to Arizona to meet Clark: “I don’t know what Tony and I were doing there for several hours going back and forth and trading if we couldn’t come to an agreement. ”
As if these negotiations had not become embarrassing enough on Thursday, the two sides argued over whether an agreement had been reached on Wednesday. This included Manfred’s joke and a pair of statements from the Players Association denying that any agreement had been reached.
Manfred released a statement on Wednesday after meeting with Clark, saying they “left this meeting with a jointly developed framework which we had agreed could form the basis of an agreement.”
Apparently the two sides are close enough to reach an agreement as soon as possible, and this episode will be seen as an untimely misunderstanding. Manfred seemed to concede as much when he said: again at Nightengale: “We are in the same place. We want to play. We want to reach an agreement. … We do whatever is necessary to find a way to play, hopefully by agreement. ”
Remember, the MLB season was to start on March 26. The spread of the new coronavirus has forced the league to suspend these plans two weeks in advance.