While the free agent market blows up in anticipation of a lockout starting at midnight, and while that has the bulk of our focus today, I was still wondering: how *is* that whole Collective Bargaining Agreement thing going? I mean, we all expect a lockout, but, strictly speaking, it doesn’t have to happen if a deal is reached before Wednesday night!
Well, in his latest at ESPN, Jeff Passan lays it all out, and I don’t think you’ll leave it feeling all that differently about where things stand. You should still very much be expecting a lockout, and a long period of inactivity:
MLB and the MLBPA are meeting in Texas to try to strike a new collective-bargaining agreement before the current one expires Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. At ESPN+, 20 Questions with all you need to know — and news about new proposals, including a draft lottery: https://t.co/ZrNxOrhV27
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 29, 2021
Basically, we’re all just looking for SOME signs of progress this week (the next bargaining sessions begins at 1pm CT today, apparently). The lockout is happening – everyone is clearly proceeding on that certainty – but it doesn’t have to be a two-month thing if there is some progress this week. If the gap between the sides can just narrow a bit, maybe a deal can come together reasonably early in January? That’s where I’m left to hope.
As for where things stand in terms of the actual bargaining, you can and should read Passan’s long piece for the full rundown. In mildly good news, the owners have reportedly agreed to consider raising the luxury tax level (rather than lowering it, as they previously and ridiculously proposed). They are also proposing the universal DH, as expected, and a draft lottery that would try to address tanking. The league also still wants expanded postseason and an international draft.
The players, as we’ve discussed before, are focused on increasing competitiveness and getting younger players paid earlier in their careers.
And here’s me over here hoping that BOTH sides are focused on the actual product on the field, which has been facing serious issues for a long time now, between the pace of play, the length of games, the lack of on-field action from balls in play, and on and on. It would be nice to know that everyone is on board with thinking on that stuff, too, and trying to make sure the version of the game that is played in 2025 is closer to the best version than what we have seen in recent years.