Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said he’s like the fans: He has experienced a roller coaster of emotions watching the negotiations (or sometimes, the lack thereof) between owners and players over recent weeks.
MLB is trying to bring its sport back to the field, something that commissioner Rob Manfred said “100%” would happen, but then a week later said he wasn’t confident would happen at all. Players and owners negotiated, and then they didn’t, and then on Wednesday, they did again. Manfred reportedly met with players union executive director Tony Clark in Arizona this week.
“We were made aware that he was coming here and he was here, which we thought was great,” Hall said. “It’s good that they were willing to sit down face-to-face, especially in light of a pandemic. But it just shows the desire on both sides, when they seem so far apart, to still want to get together.”
MLB reportedly made a proposal to players, though there appears to be more negotiating left to be done before an agreement is in place.
“I think they both realize, again, the best thing to do is come together, agree upon a number of games,” Hall said. “But it’s so much more than that … It’s too easy for us to focus on the number of games and the amount of salary paid. There are so many other details that we still have to hammer out, and that was the message that the commissioner’s office and Major League Baseball gave to the players.”
Owners also want players to agree to not file a grievance, something that MLB Network’s Jon Heyman said players did agree to on Wednesday.
“Grievances are never good for any game or any sport,” Hall said. “You just don’t want them. You don’t want to show the struggle and you don’t want to show the conflict, and you never know anyways how a grievance could come out. It’s in the hands of an arbitrator, and it can be ugly. So I think you always want to avoid any sort of grievance.”
Hall said his team’s players aren’t the ones at the table negotiating, as they’re at Chase Field working out and getting ready to play.
And speaking of Chase Field, Hall said he “could see” the D-backs utilizing both Chase Field and Salt River Fields when they resume formal team workouts in a sort of “spring training” ahead of the season. That, he said, is an advantage of being in the Valley.
Still, though, the league needs an agreement in place.
“Right now, I’ve said this for three months, but right now more than any other time, America needs us,” Hall said. “We have got to get out there. So I continue to be encouraged. You guys know I’m an optimistic person, I’m a positive person, and I think these recent happenings and occurrences are good for us.”