Red Sox

McAdam: What Rob Manfred should tell baseball’s owners in order to save the season

(Alex Trautwig/Gettyu Images)

Until Monday night, the last time we had seen Rob Manfred in a public setting was last Wednesday, when he announced the selections in the first round of Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft.

Last week, it was the drafting teams who were on the clock.

Now, it's Manfred's turn.

Manfred's bizarre reversal of field in the span of week -- first guaranteeing that an MLB season would be played, only to rescind that promise Monday -- has left the game in limbo. After seemingly getting what he wanted all along -- acquiescence on the part of the MLB Players Association -- Manfred sounded the alarm Monday night that the season remained very much in jeopardy.

The reason? Manfred's fear MLB was leaving itself open to an unfair labor grievance from the union. And so, the implementation of a 50-or-so game schedule, as the commissioner has the right to impose in the face of stalled negotiations, is on hold.

Forget for a moment that Manfred's backtracking made him look foolish on Monday's ESPN forum with other commissioners, all of whom have managed to reach agreements with their respective unions to return to play. Forget, too, that Manfred enraged the players by moving the goalposts at the last minute.

Those are temporary PR problems that are common occurrences in labor negotiations. There are bigger stakes in play here, not the least of which is the welfare of the sport which Manfred is charged with protecting.