Ricardo De Jesus ’22
With the start of Spring Training less than three weeks away, it seems that the MLB Lockout is nowhere near its conclusion.
On December 2nd, 2021, the MLB owners voted to enact a lockout after the expiration of the 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Owners halted all baseball activities and prevented players from entering their team facilities. This is the first lockout of its kind since the 1990 lockout and the first MLB work stoppage since the 1994-1995 MLB strike. An MLB lockout was inevitable for both the Player’s Association and owners.
The owners want to push towards expanding the playoffs and reducing the number of games played while implementing the universal DH. The 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement proved to be profitable and beneficial to all owners, and their goal is to maintain the status quo. Owners want to maintain their own profitability for teams, as expanded playoffs can greatly benefit the amount of revenue generated for their teams.
As for the players, multiple concerns are quite far-ranging. In recent years, the percentage of team revenue going to players has been shrinking. There is also the issue of owners manipulating player service time, as they keep prospective players in the minor leagues to take advantage of their contract status. This, in turn, also affects how free agency operates, as they also proposed a shorter time period to reach free agency for older players. The Players Association also wants to address tanking, as teams will do poorly to land top draft picks. Players want to see this process put to an end, and they want a team salary minimum of $100 million and make teams incentivized to win games.
Over the two months of this grueling process, players have not held back to voice their opinions. Due to the amount of time left until Spring Training, the owners requested federal mediation for the situation, and players took to Twitter to voice their irritation.
Mets star pitcher Max Scherzer was not afraid to hold back any comments.
He shared in a tweet, “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.”
The last time a mediator was brought to end a dispute between MLB players and owners ended up in the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. Although a result like that is drastic, at the end of the day, the fans are left waiting and hoping to see a conclusion sometime in the near future.