MLB locked down: Everything there is to know about baseball’s impending shutdown before the CBA expires Wednesday night

At 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) – negotiated agreement governs almost every aspect of the working relationship between Major League Baseball players and team owner – will expire. If no new collective agreements are agreed at that time, at least with conditions, the owner will be forced to stop working. They will do so in the form of door locks.

Negotiations between the two sides are ongoing, but with a later date, it seems more likely that we will suffer a grounding in baseball for the first time since the players’ strike last year. 1994-95. Speaking of which, you may be wondering right now what a mechanical lock is, how does it work, what is its purpose, and what does it mean for the sport. Thankfully, we’re here, equipped in the Plus-10 Velvet Trousers of Wisdom, to explain it all.

Shall we start? We’ll start in a FAQ style for the time being.

What is a door lock?

In essence, there are two types of layoffs. A strike is when the labor side – the players represented by their union, in this case – suspend operations. The lock is when the management side – the group owner in this case – starts to stop. In a nutshell, a strike is a refusal to work, and a door lock is a refusal to allow work to be done.

To the extent of Major League Baseball, the shutdown means the free agent process will be frozen with some big names still in the market (this freeze is why we see a flurry of contracts leading to the CBA expiration date). Since all transactions will be kept, locking also means no transactions. Players will be barred from using team facilities during the lockdown, and if the downtime extends beyond just a few days, the Winter Meeting and Draft Rule 5 will be canceled and postponed, respectively. duration. If the course runs through January, then the exchange of referee data between eligible players and their teams will be delayed. Enter January without a deal, and the spring practice schedule could be disrupted. The worst case scenario is that the lockdown lasts long enough to force the rescheduling or even cancellation of regular season games. It’s a little early to wonder about that right now, but it’s within the range of possible outcomes.

The bottom line: The lockdown means the sport is being paused on all fronts until further notice. “Further notice” in this case almost certainly means when a new collective agreement is agreed in principle.

Why is there a key?

As pointed out above, that’s because the new CBA has yet to be agreed upon and the owner is unwilling to allow the offseason to proceed without. Like those owners, players generally don’t like to move forward with the off-season and regular-season schedule without a CBA in place, and they’ll likely strike near the start of the season or into the off-season. prizes when their leverage is higher.

Owners, however, don’t want players to gain such leverage, so locking down before spring training is in some way a preemptive measure against owner and commissioner Rob Manfred (basically their job is to do group owner bidding). The aim is not only to speed up CBA negotiations, but also to make players more likely to comply with the owner’s wishes on many fronts. On top of that, it’s an attempt by the teams to put pressure on the union to agree to the owner’s set of proposals for the next CBA. Furthermore, the teams hope that bringing the game to a halt with some unregistered players still there will weaken union solidarity as the course drags on.

How long will it last?

This is unknowable. It’s a perfectly flexible situation, but both sides some time ago expressed what could be called “mild optimism” that something will be done before the current CBA expires. That didn’t happen, but it suggests there is at least a foundation in place. In the past, some layoffs lasted less than a week, and others were measured in months. There will be major upheavals to the sport later on, and there are heavy incentives for each side to avoid it happening. For now, the default assumption is that issues are resolved before the regular season is affected.

What are they fighting about?

From the player’s point of view, they want to tackle the shrinking share of revenue from that league (in part due to the drop in average player wages), the occasional practice of manipulating service time (i.e. when teams retain a potential client apparently willing to delay free agency and his umpire for a year), and the “tank” issue, among other issues. Teams tend to be younger and younger in their line-up, and the league will struggle to get those young players paid more in line with their on-field value while also looking for dynamics to make the teams more competitive with each other. Owners, in the meantime, will likely seek to maintain the status quo, as the expiring CBA is largely in their favor. In the end, yes, it’s a war for money which is, to be fair, a very good reason to fight.

Has this happened before?

This will mark the fourth lockout since MLB and the union negotiated the first CBA in the late 1960s. The first lockout was in 1973 and was resolved before any regular games of the season were affected. Then the 1976 course took place and it also ended without any effect on the regular season. Then came the 1990 lockdown. Again, no regular games were canceled, but spring practice was greatly impacted. At the same time, the start time of the regular season has been pushed back.

To the extent that stadium lockdown history is any guide, it would be surprising if the 2021 lockdown lasted long enough to alter the usual 2022 season schedule. MLB locked down: Everything there is to know about baseball’s impending shutdown before the CBA expires Wednesday night


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