As Major League Baseball quietly moves closer to having its Spring Training impacted due to a lockout implemented in December, I figured it’s time to give you an update on where the lockout stands.
On December 1, 2021, Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expired, resulting in owners locking out the players in order to “jumpstart” negotiations, and the first work stoppage since the 1994-1995 season.
“Despite the league’s best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labor peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a prepared statement. “Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.”
“Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” Manfred continued. “We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.”
The threat of a lockout had been looming for quite some time, as the 2016 CBA was set to expire. In negotiations for a new CBA, the players and owners have not been able to agree on a few key issues.
For the players, they would like to lower the age and service time of when a player can become a free agent, thus allowing them to sign a large contract earlier in their careers. MLB players would also like to address the practice of teams holding highly-regarded prospects in the Minor Leagues in order to manipulate their service time, as well as organizations “tanking” in order to bottom out and have a minimal payroll.
On Friday, the MLB Players Association rejected MLB’s offer to bring in a federal mediator in order to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
“‘Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation,’ the MLBPA said in a statement. ‘After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of factors, we have declined this request.’”
Major League Baseball put out its own statement, saying that the goal is to have players reporting for Spring Training, which is scheduled to begin February 16.
“Our goal is to have players on the field and fans in the ballparks for Spring Training and Opening Day,” a league spokesperson said. “With camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock. It is clear the most productive path forward would be the involvement of an impartial third party to help bridge gaps and facilitate an agreement.”
“It is hard to understand why a party that wants to make an agreement would reject mediation from the federal agency specifically tasked with resolving these disputes, including many successes in professional sports. MLB remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides.”
The two sides have met four times since the beginning of the lockout, with none of the meetings resulting in “significant traction toward a new CBA,” according to ESPN.
On Friday, New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer laid out why the MLBPA rejected the request for mediation.
“We don’t need mediation because what we are offering to MLB is fair for both sides: We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy,” Scherzer posted to Twitter.
There have been reports that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to speak publicly on Thursday, and baseball has reportedly stopped testing players for PEDs for the first time since 2002.
Most years, baseball fans around the country would be preparing to head to Arizona or Florida for some lighthearted Spring Training fun. But this year, we simply hope and pray that the two sides can come to a resolution sooner rather than later so that we can get back to enjoying America’s pastime.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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