2016-winter-meetingsAs we discussed this morning, baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in (now) just over two days. There are significant matters outstanding to be resolved, and you can read about them at that link (and follow the trail of links back, if you feel like you aren’t up to date on what is a critical story about our sport).

Tonight’s update comes from Buster Olney, who reports a bit of an unnerving item:



Remember the saber rattling last week about the owners possibly locking out the players? Since actual games don’t begin for so long, the threat of a lockout wasn’t all that scary to folks, not only because it was then considered unlikely, but also because there’s very little that it would impact right now.

The Winter Meetings, however, are one of those things. This is not to say that Olney is reporting an imminent lockout. Instead, he seems to be reporting that, regardless of whether there’s a lockout or not, even if the sides keep negotiating after the expiration of the CBA, the teams will not be participating in the Winter Meetings either way. Those meetings, in case you didn’t know, are an annual week of, among many other things, meetings among players, agents, and executives, and it’s always full of rumors and transaction activity in a centralized place.

Losing it would be a huuuuuge bummer. Among the reasons:



Conversely, the effective cancellation of the Winter Meetings would generate some seriously negative headlines at a time when baseball annually has a chance to remind folks how much fun it is, even in the middle of its offseason.

So, then, even if a deal was done a couple weeks later, and no actual transaction activity was lost, positive attention for MLB would be lost (and lots of negative attention would be gained). For a sport that is awash in revenue, this would be a really bad look. Ugh. I can see the headlines now.

The sides are still negotiating, and, to be clear, there is not yet an indication that a deal definitely won’t be done before Thursday’s deadline. But I sure don’t like hearing about even a slight possibility that the Winter Meetings could be cancelled.

UPDATE: This seems like an enormous development:

Given that the draft was emerging as among the biggest sticking points for the players, this seems like a significant potential concession from the owners. If there is no international draft implemented (keep in mind, Rosenthal’s report is not necessarily saying it’s definitely out – just that the owners are no longer absolutely requiring it (they might, you know, still really want it and push for it)), it’ll be interesting to see what changes are made to the IFA market, if any.

It will also be interesting, of course, to see what the owners are able to wring back out of the players if the international draft stays out. If his second tweet there is any indication … maybe not much.



A deal is still gonna need some work, though:

Often the last, perhaps, but obviously contentious since it most directly implicates how much of the revenue will be going to the players.






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