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MLB lockout begins as owners and players remain stumped

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger (35) steals second base while St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman (19) shoots late on his seventh serve at Dodger Stadium.

Robert Hanashiro | USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement officially expired at midnight Thursday, and the team owners voted to ban players after failing to reach a new deal.

Shortly after midnight, the MLB Players Association called the closure “dramatic.”

“It was a choice of owners, simple and straightforward, specifically designed to force players to give up their rights and perks and refuse fair bargaining offers that would benefit not only the players, but the game and the industry as a whole,” the statement said. MLBPA. statement.

However, MLBPA said it still intends to agree on a CBA that will be “fair to all parties and provide fans with the best version of the game we all love.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the lockout as “necessary” stating that the MLBPA league’s vision “will compromise the ability of most teams to be competitive.”

League Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem and MLBPA negotiator Bruce Meyer met in Dallas on Wednesday. However, the negotiations ended with the parties remaining at odds.

The closure is the ninth in MLB history and the first since the players’ strike in 1994. This labor dispute lasted 232 days and the owners of MLB also canceled the 1994 World Series due to a strike.

In his letter, Manfred said: “We cannot allow the expired agreement to again lead to a strike in the season and a missed World Series like it did in 1994. We are all indebted to you, our fans, even better. “

But due to another lockout, the industry worth $ 10 billion is now frozen.

Player transactions have been suspended and clubs are now prohibited from contacting players during the offseason until the lockout is lifted. In addition, the MLB Winter Meetings scheduled for December 6-9 in Orlando will be canceled.

The shutdown came during the free agent frenzy that resulted in more than $ 2 billion in deals. The deals include a $ 325 million Texas Rangers contract to land shortstop Corey Seeger, and the New York Mets gave pitcher Max Scherzer a $ 130 million three-year deal.

However, players believe that the current CBA is not beneficial to them; therefore, they are looking for change.

The MLBPA wants to refer to service times rules that restrict most young players to teams for the first six years of their careers. The union also wants to revise the luxury tax to encourage teams to spend more on player salaries without fear of harsh tax penalties.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. and Major League Baseball Association Executive Director Tony Clark speak during a press conference ahead of the third game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic between the United States and Puerto Rico on Wednesday March 22nd. , 2017 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Alex Trautwig | Major League Baseball | Getty Images

In the current CBA, teams that exceed the MLB salary threshold are taxed between 20% and 95% depending on relay status.

The union wants to restructure the MLB free agency so that younger stars get paid earlier and get more money, including a $ 570,500 minimum wage increase.

According to the Associated Press, player salaries have been declining for the third consecutive year. The publication estimates that the average salary of players in MLB in the 2021 season was $ 3.7 million. That’s below the all-time high of $ 4.1 million in 2017.

More Postseason Inventory

Meanwhile, MLB’s proposals include a $ 100 million minimum wage to keep battle teams from spending enough money on players. The team owners also offered a $ 1 billion pool in lieu of payroll arbitration.

The point is, these items are unlikely to be accepted. What the owners really want is more postseason games and an increase in the number of clubs vying for the World Series from 10 teams to 14.

Freddie Freeman # 5 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with # 22 Jock Pederson after a solo home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning of Game 6 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park on November 2, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Carmen Mandato | Getty Images

This would help increase money for media rights, as most of MLB’s revenue comes from post-season games.

Fox will begin paying MLB its $ 5.1 billion contract in 2022, and WarnerMedia has agreed to a package of over $ 3 billion to keep its MLB rights.

But if MLB gets more postseason stocks, ESPN gets exclusive rights to all Wild Card games as part of the $ 4 billion package.

Is February the actual deadline?

With many issues to be discussed, few in MLB circles expect a quick fix for this lockout.

“I think they [MLBPA] – said former MLB CEO Marty Conway. “At the baseball level, it’s about a freedom of action system that is completely controlled by the owners and operators of baseball.

“It will be weeks before we see any reasonable progress,” he added.

Conway, now a professor of sports management at Georgetown University, suggested February 2022 would be a more realistic deadline as clubs and players prepare for spring training.

“There’s a lot of money,” Conway said. “These negotiations will be more about how they are divided and about the future of the people who are involved in this pie of income.”

In his letter, Manfred said the lockout would not necessarily lead to the game being canceled, arguing that the league has taken “this step now because it accelerates the urgency of an agreement with as many runways as possible to avoid damage to the 2022 season. “.


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