Rob Manfred stood behind a podium Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla., and announced the cancellation of the first two series — five or six games per team — of the Major League Baseball season. Nearly two hours after the commissioner’s decree, veteran pitcher Andrew Miller was asked if the players were braced for missing those games and perhaps more.

“We’re prepared,” said Miller, a leader in the Players Association. “We’ve seen this coming.”

Everybody saw this coming. Before the owners locked out the players on Dec. 2 and certainly in the 90 days since then, even during an overnight bargaining session that lasted until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and offered the slightest hint of optimism that the arch-nemeses may actually overcome canyon-sized differences on multiple economic issues and salvage an on-time start to a 162-game season, this moment seemed all but inevitable.

Opening day had been scheduled for March 31, with the Phillies set to visit the defending American League champion Houston Astros. Now, they won’t open the season until at least April 8 at home against the Oakland Athletics. Maybe.

Manfred said he “hoped against hope that I would not have to have this particular press conference.” After the union accused the owners of trying to “break our Player fraternity,” its executive director Tony Clark called it a “sad day.” On that last count, there was no dispute. It marks the first time since 1995 that regular-season games will be missed on account of labor unrest.

“We worked hard,” Manfred said, “to avoid an outcome that’s bad for our fans, bad for our players, bad for our clubs.”

That, like so much else about these talks, will be debated. The players maintain that the owners could rescind their lockout at any time, open spring training, and continue to negotiate in the interim. There haven’t been any indications of that happening.

» READ MORE: Could Bryce Harper and other players really sign to play overseas if MLB’s lockout drags into the season?

For posterity, talks broke down Tuesday, the ninth consecutive day of in-person bargaining at a spring-training ballpark in Florida, after the players rejected what MLB negotiators described as their “best and final” counterproposal, one that Manfred estimated would add “more than $100 million annually in additional compensation to the younger-player group.” The union’s accountants beg to differ.

Earlier in the day, the owners panned a proposal from the players. In that respect, it wouldn’t have been much different than any other bargaining session between baseball’s Jets and Sharks over the last few weeks.

But MLB imposed a 5 p.m. deadline — the players viewed it more as a negotiating tactic — to either make a deal or begin lopping games off the schedule, an outcome that Manfred recently characterized as “disastrous” for the league but dismissed Tuesday as one that the “calendar dictates.”

The sides agreed, in principle, on a few issues. The owners gave up their bid for a 14-team expanded postseason, settling for the players’ preference of 12 teams. The union dropped its attempts to gain earlier free agency and make more two-plus-year players eligible for salary arbitration. The universal designated hitter is in, draft-pick compensation tied to free agency is out, and plans for a draft lottery are taking shape.

But large gaps still existed on most issues. MLB and the players wound up $25,000 apart this year ($64,000 by 2026) on minimum salary. They were $55 million apart this year ($75 million by 2026) on a bonus pool for pre-arbitration (entry-level) players. MLB’s final proposal, also referred to at the bargaining table as its “best” offer, provided no changes to the luxury-tax thresholds, leaving the sides $18 million apart this year ($238 million vs. $220 million) and $33 million apart by 2026 ($263 million vs. $230 million).

» READ MORE: Baseball’s lockout will be futile until owners realize their whole economic structure is broken

Manfred also sought a procedural change that would empower him to implement a pitch clock, eliminate shifts, and make other adjustments to improve the on-field product. It was a worthwhile endeavor, but he said in December that sorely needed on-field changes would wait until after the thorny economic issues were hashed out.

In between the players’ proposal Tuesday and MLB’s last-best counteroffer, the sides resorted to slinging insults at one another. A league spokesperson told reporters in Jupiter that the players “had a decidedly different tone [from Monday night] and made proposals inconsistent with prior discussions.” In turn, a union source said the players all along were “very clear we’re far apart” in many areas.

“There was some progress made on certain issues this week,” union lead negotiator Bruce Meyer said. “But I think we’ve also been clear and consistent that there are major issues on which we were very far apart. We’ve said that to the media consistently. We’ve said that to the other side consistently. That hasn’t changed. There have been and still are major issues.”

On top of all of them, MLB’s decision to cancel games will add another unwelcome dimension to the talks. The league has indicated that it doesn’t intend to pay players for games missed. But Meyer said the players will fight for full-season pay.

The sides fought over pro-rata salaries before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. MLB paid the players for 60 games. But Meyer cited MLB’s request last year to start the season late because of COVID-19 and pay the players their full salaries for only 154 games.

“It would be our position in the event of games being canceled that, as a feature of any deal, we would be asking for compensation and/or to have those games rescheduled,” Meyer said. “They can do it. There’s precedent for it.”

Meanwhile, the union offered $5,000 stipends to players on Feb. 1 and March 1 and will raise the total to $15,000 on April 1. As Miller said, the players are prepared if the lockout drags on. And it wasn’t even clear Tuesday when negotiations would resume — or which side will make the next offer.

Manfred said the soonest talks could pick back up again is Thursday and suggested it was the players’ turn to make a counterproposal. Clark said the players are “willing to stay here and have the conversation tomorrow.” After nine days in Florida, Manfred described the talks as “deadlocked,” but was careful not to use the word “impasse” or to re-raise the request for federal mediation, a process the players rejected last month.

“The reason we are not playing is simple: A lockout is the ultimate economic weapon,” Clark said. “In a $10 billion industry, the owners have decided to use this weapon against the greatest asset they have: the players.”