MLB likely to be locked out as league halts last-minute talks in Texas, according to reports

At 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement — the contract that allows MLB and the MLB Players Association to conduct business — will expire, at which point the owner expected to lock the player. This would be baseball’s first shutdown since the 1994-95 players’ strike. Here’s everything you need to know about the hidden owner’s door lock.

MLB and the MLBPA held last-minute bargaining sessions this week near Dallas and, on Wednesday afternoon, the federation announced that negotiations with the players were completed for the day, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. That means a new deal won’t be reached before midnight.

“Hearing the sound in negotiations, locking the door sounds like a very likely scenario, let’s just say it,” Max Scherzer, member of the MLBPA executive subcommittee, said Wednesday.

In Monday, league once again proposes a 14-team expanded format after the seasonand on Tuesday, the MLBPA approved MLB’s latest proposal. The two sides met again on Wednesday for final negotiations. Here are some of the items in the latest MLBPA proposal, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:

  • Free agent at age 29 1/2 or after five years of service, whichever comes first.
  • Players become qualified referees after two seasons instead of three.
  • Expanded 12 teams post-season with redesigned leagues into two divisions each.
  • The luxury tax threshold increased from $210 million to $240 million.
  • Advertising stickers on uniforms.

Ultimately, the money will determine when a new CBA is reached. Baseball is a $10 billion a year business, and how that $10 billion is distributed will be at the core of the lockdown. There are other issues to deal with (rule changes, etc.) and those are important as well, but the money is the biggest problem. The lockout will not end until the money issue is resolved.

Reports suggest that the MLB and the MLBPA are still very far apart on economic issues, so getting a new CBA before the current one expires on Wednesday is considered a long way at best. The federation wants to put more money in the pockets of younger players and combat anti-competitive practices (i.e. hitting the tank), Among other things.

Once the lockup begins, the MLB is expected to implement a transaction freeze, halting all transactions involving players on the 40 list (i.e. union members). That has contributed to the recent flurry of free agency deals. Players who want to close their payday before the weeks-long (month?) lockdown is uncertain.

The lockout would be the MLB’s first job stoppage since the 1994-95 strike and the fourth lockout in baseball history. The previous three lockdowns took place in 1973 (12 days), 1976 (13 days) and 1990 (32 days) and did not result in any of the regular games of the season being postponed or cancelled. MLB likely to be locked out as league halts last-minute talks in Texas, according to reports


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