MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER ROB MANFRED: "To my disappointment, I have to report that effective 12:01am this morning we instituted a lockout of Major League players.”Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday announced a work stoppage for all MLB players, after the league and the players union failed to reach terms on a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of a midnight deadline. MANFRED: “We committed to the process. We made proposals and it just did not happen." That means all current activity has been halted - which includes, most significantly, free-agent signings and trades as many teams try to bolster their rosters during the off-season. At issue: years played before free agency, playoff expansion, a possible salary floor, and several proposed rule changes. In a tweet, the Player’s Association said, “The shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing," and added it was “specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits.” Manfred in a letter to fans said the vision of the Players Association’s would (quote) “threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.” The lockout marks the first work stoppage in Major League Baseball since the players' strike of 1994-95. That dispute forced a premature end to the season, delayed the start of the following season and turned off fans, with attendances plummeting when play finally resumed. Manfred tried to assure fans that this time it’s unlikely games will be canceled, as the season doesn’t officially beginuntil March 31.