Major League Baseball and the Players Association last negotiated a Collective Bargaining Agreement on November 30, 2016. Now, as the five-year deal nears its end, talks between the MLB and the MLBPA are back in session for the next agreement.
If there is any sort of snag in negotiations, it could result in a stoppage. That would be particularly catastrophic considering MLB’s relative uphill battled in attracting a larger audience.
Furthermore, neither side was perceived well publicly last year as animosity went public amidst a pandemic that affected tens of millions around the world.
Though the relationship between the league and players association has long been believed to be filled with tension, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to believe the two sides can strike a deal. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Manfred is not worried about the parties’ relationship posing a pssible impediment:
“We have a very professional working relationship with the MLBPA,” Manfred said Tuesday. “More generally, this whole relationship thing gets overplayed and misinterpreted. The fact that you have a period of time, which we admittedly had last spring, where we had serious disagreements which became public, I don’t think that is an indicator of whether you’re going to get a new agreement.”
The serious disagreements to which Manfred referred came in the wake of the bizarre 2020 offseason that was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After disputes over salary allotments in a shortened season, players like Blake Snell and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw questioned the league’s inconsistency on the matter.
MLB will face work stoppage if no new CBA is reached
If Manfred’s confidence is rooted in truth, all can expect a new deal to be struck in time for the December 1 deadline. If his words are hollow, however, a lockout may come.
Major League Baseball has not seen a work stoppage since the 1994 strike that brought a halt to the season on August 12. That resulted in the cancellation of the regular and postseason and even spilled into the beginning of the following season.
In total, the strike lasted a whopping 232 days, making it the longest in league history.
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