With the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring at the beginning of December, all business came to a halt as MLB team owners imposed a lockout that took immediate affect.
It was a disappointing development considering the spending spree in free agency that generated plenty of buzz for the sport. The lockout is MLB’s first stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike that lasted 232 days and led to a cancelled World Series.
Team owners and the Players Association remain at odds over multiple issues, including free agency, competitive integrity and service-time manipulation. The two sides reportedly have exchanged proposals at various points this year, only for all of them to be rejected thus far.
Prior to the lockout officially beginning, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained the league taking such action would stem from prior history and in effort to prevent potential disruption to the 2022 season, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
“We’ve been down this path,” Manfred said. “We locked out in ’89-’90. We decided to go down the path (of continuing to negotiate) in 1994. I don’t think ’94 worked out too great for anybody. I think when you look at other sports, the pattern has become to control the timing of the labor dispute and try to minimize the prospect of actual disruption of the season. That’s what it’s about: It’s avoiding doing damage to the season.”
As Manfred noted, MLB entered a lockout in February 1990, but no games from the regular season were wiped out. However, Opening Day was pushed back a week, and the season had to be extended by three days in order to complete the 162-game schedule.
With the lockout now in place, it’s not expected MLB and the MLBPA will revisit negotiations until the New Year at the earliest.
History of MLB lockouts and strikes
The current lockout is the fourth in MLB history and first since 1990. Overall, it’s the ninth work stoppage and marked the end of 27 consecutive years of labor peace.
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