All Things MLB Work Stoppage


BleedGopher

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How did we get here? What is a lockout -- and why now?​

The last deal between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA was negotiated in 2016. The current collective bargaining agreement covers everything from how long the season will last to what kind of per diem players receive on the road. It also addresses the greater economics of the game, such as free agency and arbitration. And it ended at midnight. At 12:01, the owners locked out the players, hoping to push the union into a more urgent state of negotiation. It's essentially the antithesis of a players' strike. Since players don't get paid in the offseason, nor are there games, there's nothing for them to strike over. Instead, the league chose to halt all player activity as it relates to their teams. No free-agent signings, no use of team facilities -- in fact, no contact of any kind between team and player -- is allowed until a new agreement is reached.

How long is the lockout expected to last? Could games be lost next year?​

Yes, games could be lost. That's always a possibility once a work stoppage occurs, but with three months until the regular season begins, it would be shocking if 2022 didn't go a full 162 games. There is a chance spring training doesn't start on time, using that period as a soft deadline to force some issues to get resolved, but we're far from that happening. The sides already lost a lot of money during the pandemic. Anything short of a full season would be another devastating blow to the sport, both economically and from a public relations standpoint.

What is main sticking point in the negotiations between the owners and players?​

Economics. Players feel, with the emergence of analytics within front offices, that fewer and fewer second- and third-tier players are getting paid when they finally become free agents after six years of major league service time, which is often when a player turns 30 or very close to it. In general, players would like to be paid more at younger ages because that's when they are in their prime. The system also favors keeping players in the minor leagues for several weeks extra to slow down their major league service time. Players hate that. Additionally, they feel the cycle of teams rebuilding (aka tanking) is limiting payrolls. They would like some guardrails within the system to prevent those cycles. One good thing for the players: As long as there is no salary cap, the system will always pay the best of the best -- something the league likes to emphasize. Owners haven't even offered a hard cap during negotiations.

What does the lockout mean for free agency and trades? Are the winter meetings canceled?​

Everything halts. The major league portion of the winter meetings, scheduled for next week, are canceled. (The minor league side of the meetings will continue.) There would be little point to holding the meetings, since agents can't meet with teams. In fact, team personnel aren't even allowed to speak to the media about players on 40-man rosters during the lockout. And teams aren't supposed to talk to each other about their players also. So technically, no trades will be agreed upon during the lockout -- assuming executives follow the letter of the lockout law. Young players looking for feedback from their coaches, during winter bullpen or hitting sessions, are on their own now as well. Simply put, team personnel are prohibited from any contact with players on their 40-man rosters. Offseason drug testing will stop and pick up as soon as a new CBA is ratified

Who are the leading figures on each side of the bargaining table?​

Former big leaguer Tony Clark is the face of the players' union, while commissioner Rob Manfred is the same for the league. A lot of negotiating is done by their lieutenants, mainly lawyers Dan Halem for the league and Bruce Meyer for the players. Some owners are in on the meetings, while the executive board of the union consists of eight players: Max Scherzer, Marcus Semien, Gerrit Cole, Francisco Lindor, Jason Castro, Zack Britton, Andrew Miller and James Paxton. They report back to player reps for each team who will keep the rank and file informed as needed.


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short ornery norwegian

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and here we go again.

I remember all of the previous work stoppages/strikes. several took place and were resolved during the off-season or Spring Training. the ones that resulted in games being missed:

1972 - strike lasted 13 days. the games missed were not made up.

1981 - strike lasted from early June to early August. the minors kept playing, so a lot of TV outlets started showing minor-league games. that was the year of the "split season." there were first-half and second-half winners who met in the playoffs.

1985 - there was a 2-day strike in August, but all of the games were made up.

and the big one - 1994/95. Strike started in August of '94. No post-season or World Series. there was a late start to the 1995 season and teams wound up playing a 144-game schedule.

BTW - author John Helyar wrote a book titled "Lords of the Realm" that is an excellent history of the labor movement in baseball.
 


Wally

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Baseball is garbage, until they have hard salary caps and team salary minimums I won't watch. It's owners milking a cash cow and putting out a shit product overall.
 


BleedGopher

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Baseball is garbage, until they have hard salary caps and team salary minimums I won't watch. It's owners milking a cash cow and putting out a shit product overall.

I don’t think we’ll ever see a hard salary cap.

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short ornery norwegian

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the ironic part is that the players union does not want a 'salary floor' either, because they believe that will lead to a salary cap. the owners have offered to adopt a salary floor, and the players have resisted.

but, without a salary floor, that allows teams that are tanking to cut their payrolls, thereby reducing opportunities for players to make more money.

with his new contract from the Mets, Scherzer's salary for 2022 is higher than the estimated payrolls for at least two entire teams. that cannot be good for baseball.

Estimated current opening day payrolls, per
@baseballpro
Seattle Mariners: $57 million
Cleveland Guardians: $46.7 million
Max Scherzer: $43.3 million
Pittsburgh Pirates: $40.2 million
Baltimore Orioles: $37 million
 




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