Report: MLB against lowering service time for free agency
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: MLB against lowering service time for free agency amid lockout

To the shock of absolutely nobody, not even the most optimistic baseball fans, reports emerged Thursday that the latest bargaining session between MLB and MLB Players Association representatives amid the ongoing lockout largely went nowhere and offered little hope that spring training will start on time next month. 

There's now more information about what separates the sides as the halfway point of January approaches. 

According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, league owners remain against lowering the service-time requirement for players to hit free agency and, ideally, cash-in on the open market: 

Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith added: 

It's not all bad news, depending on one's view of the situation, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the owners and players seem close to agreeing on a universal designated hitter:

That doesn't, however, mean fans should expect any teases for an end of the work stoppage anytime soon: 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale also wrote "the union and several high-ranking players were unimpressed with the new proposals," and that MLB expects the MLBPA to make a counteroffer at some point next week. Currently, players are scheduled to report for spring training on Feb. 16, and Nightengale noted the sides likely will need to come to an agreement before or on March 5 to avoid potentially losing regular-season games. 

Opening Day is set for March 31, but that's merely wishful thinking at this point of the process. 

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