MLB Lockout Day 77: The Next Meeting and Proposal is Set for Tomorrow

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MLB Lockout Day 77: The Next Meeting and Proposal is Set for Tomorrow

Chicago Cubs

Welp, tomorrow it is. Another session is coming, and with it a response from the players.

As we discussed earlier today, it’s likely that the players will move on a number of issues, but the moves will be very small. On that, it’s hard to blame the players – the owner offers have really been rough so far – and it might just have to be this kind of chip-chip-chip away over the next several weeks. I don’t foresee Opening Day happening as scheduled, though a lot will be determined by tomorrow’s session, and how quickly/agreeably the owners respond to whatever comes from the players tomorrow. No matter how good the offer, I would not expect a response from the owners until maybe mid-next-week at the earliest, given the pace of these things.

Some other lockout bits while we wait on pins and needles for tomorrow …

•   The ideas at the end of this Ken Rosenthal article are really good, including the one about the Rule 5 Draft:

Years of protection: a potentially subtle shift

Another way to get players paid earlier is to get them to the major leagues sooner. And one way to do that is by reducing the number of years teams can protect youngsters before being required to add them to 40-man rosters.

Under the present rules, players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man lists within five seasons, or they become eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Players signed at 19 or older — collegians, mostly — must be protected within four seasons.  The union has proposed reducing the years of protection to four years and three, respectively, but the league, for now, has tabled the conversation.

•   Hadn’t seen that idea discussed before, and on first glance, it’s really interesting. On the one hand, yes, prospecting fans will see even more of a roster crunch, but on the other hand, it would make the Rule 5 Draft amazing, and would force teams to put young stars on the 40-man roster sooner, which starts their options clock, which gets them to the big leagues much sooner. I could see why the players would push for it, and why the owners would resist. It’s almost like a backdoor way to move free agency up a year for some players.

•   In Kevin Goldstein’s latest chat, among other things, he mentions that he’s kinda reduced his expectations for the season down to something in the 144 game range. He also says the next CBA could be only three years, which would definitely be a surprise, and an unwelcome one given what’s going on right now. In recent years, the CBA has been five years at a time. Not sure if that was a mis-type or if Goldstein has heard something – if so, he’s the first.

•   Jayson Stark talks about what MLB can learn from the NFL, and it’s a painful read. Not in terms of the article quality – it’s really good – but in terms of how poorly MLB operates its entertainment product compared to the NFL. That is made worse by the lockout:

I chatted Monday morning with a longtime baseball official who professed, unabashedly: “I love the NFL.” When I asked him what he thought baseball could learn from the magic of the NFL postseason, he didn’t even need to think about it — not for three seconds.

“The main thing MLB can learn from the NFL is that the only thing that matters is the quality of the on-field product,” he said. “People watch the NFL because the product is great. And why is the product great? Because the product changes over time.”

By that, he means the NFL has no fear of changing its rules to make its sport more entertaining. More passes. More points. More opportunity to produce the type of drama we’ve watched for the past month. No rule is sacred. So no rule is off limits. What a concept.

And it led him to zero in on the most important frustration we share over the state of baseball these days: Why are our favorite labor negotiators not discussing any of that?

“When people (look back on) the 2021 CBA negotiations,” he said, “the biggest headline should be: They didn’t have any negotiations over the single biggest issue — the product.”

•   A history at MLBTR of player strikes, and how they can help inform where things are today with the lockout.

•   A reminder of the Spring Training stakeholders:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.