One of the biggest storylines to follow this offseason is the ongoing labor negotiations between MLB and the Players Association. The two sides are attempting to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before the current deal expires on Dec. 1.
If a deal isn’t reached in time, it would all but ensure the sport’s first lockout since the 1994-95 players’ strike, which lasted 232 days.
The league and union haven’t agreed on much over the past few years and that continues to be the theme in recent talks. Each side rejected a proposal presented to them and appear no closer to reaching an agreement than they were at the start of the year.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the sides remain in discussions but there is doubt they will be able to get a deal done before the deadline:
MLB and the union are engaged in CBA talks today. Not a ton of hope on either side for a quick resolution as the Dec. 1 expiration date approaches.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 10, 2021
If a new CBA isn’t established before the deadline, it would put a freeze on free agency and potentially jeopardize the start of Spring Training next year. A worst-case scenario is the start of the 2022 season being delayed, which also happened in 1995.
A new CBA — whenever agreed upon — figures to address several concerns, including new rule changes, competitive integrity and service-time manipulation.
Clark: MLBPA focused on competitiveness, free agency in talks with MLB
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark revealed the union’s primary focus in labor negotiations is making the game more competitive and allowing players to be better compensated by reaching free agency earlier in their career.
With the current CBA, an increasing number of teams have been tanking as a way to save money during a rebuild instead of trying to field a competitive roster.
Such a strategy benefits only the team owner and hurts the on-field product. It also limits the number of jobs for veteran players, which in turn ends up cutting their salaries with limited markets for them.
The MLBPA would also like to see players paid earlier in their career as the current process gives a team six years of control over before free agency becomes a factor.
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