Can MLB Players Play Overseas During Lockout?

MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) did not come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) but made enough progress that the league pushed back it’s self-imposed deadline for a new deal to 2 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

While that’s reason for optimism, MLB reportedly cautioned the revised deadline was more firm and would result in Opening Day being delayed and regular season games canceled if an agreement isn’t reached.

Should the worst-case scenario happen, the MLBPA has organized a training camp for players in Arizona and will likely follow suit in Florida. Depending on how long the lockout lasts, some players may even choose to play overseas this year.

Prior to the work stoppage, the union outlined key guidelines to players and made clear they are permitted to play in a foreign league such as the KBO or Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). However, each league has certain restrictions that MLB players must be mindful of, per R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports:

KBO limits the amount of foreign-born players who are allowed on rosters and caps the earning potential of first-year international players to just $1 million. NPB isn’t as strict about how many foreign players a team can sign (KBO’s cap will technically increase in 2023 with the addition of minor-league spots), but it does limit the number of them who can be active in any given game.

Following reports that MLB and the MLBPA remained far apart on several economic issues in Monday’s marathon negotiating session at Roger Dean Stadium, Bryce Harper posted a photoshop of him wearing a Yomiuri Giants jersey to his Instagram story.

Joey Gallo also jokingly joined LinkedIn and implied he is looking for work during the ongoing lockout. As for MLB players who actually signed overseas this offseason, the list includes Yasiel Puig, Ivan Nova, Freddy Galvis and former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect DJ Peters.

MLB offers increases in latest CBA proposal

While the union has suggested significant differences remain, MLB did agree to increases with the starting competitive balance threshold, minimum salary and the pre-arbitration bonus pool in CBA negotiations on Monday.

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