Why is the MLB close to a lockout? What are the key issues?
Major League Baseball is on the verge of a ninth lockout in league history. Talks broke down between the league and the player union on Wednesday.
Talks between the MLB and it’s players union came to a swift and abrupt end as no the parties failed to reach an agreement on Wednesday evening. There are still big discrepancies between what the league wants moving forward, and what the players want in the near future.
Last strike came in 1994/95
The meeting was held in Dallas at the Four Seasons, and lasted a total of seven minutes. It wasn’t a good sign for the fate of America’s past time as a lockout looms with MLB’s collective bargaining agreement comes to an end.
If the league goes into a lockout it would be the ninth time in history, and the first time a work stoppage has occurred since the 1994/95 strike. That lockout lasted over seven months, and the threat of a first work stoppage in over two decades seems like a real possibility.
After a seven-minute meeting with top union officials, MLB negotiators are leaving the hotel where bargaining has taken place. It’s unclear whether they’ll return. And if they don’t, that could be the last discussion before a lockout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2021
The issues at hand
If the seven minute meeting is an indication of anything, it’s that the league and the union are miles apart on more than a couple of key issues. One of the key points of disagreement revolve around free agency. The players union wants younger players have the ability to receive bigger contract at an earlier age. They also want to life restrictions on free agency.
The league rejected the proposal from the union, which included clause that would change the current rule that stats there is a six-year wait before a player can enter free agency.
The union also proposed an expansion of the playoffs to 12 teams, while the league was more interested in stretching the post season to 14 teams.
Big CBT gap between league and union
There is also a big gap in each parties ideas about a final number for an increased competitive-balance-tax. The MLB offered to raise the CBT from $210 million to $214 million, while the players union had a much higher number in mind. The players were willing to drop from their proposed $248 million to $245 million.
If the lockout is to be carried out, not only will there be no games, but there will be no spring training or practices once the season is scheduled to get underway. Free agency and trades would also come to a halt, which would put an end to one of the busiest free agent markets in history, as teams have guaranteed over $1.6 billion to player to this point in the offseason.
Will there be baseball on March 31st?
The brevity of the meeting gives off a sensation that neither party is too interested in negotiating, and when you look into the details of the negotiations you can see that there is a long way to go before each of the sides can meet in the middle.
Spring training is scheduled to start on February 26th of 2022, and opening day is set for March 31st. Only time will tell if the league and the union can reach an agreement before the start of the new season.
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