After years of wondering if there would be a lockout, it finally happened and while we don’t know what is going to happen here is what we expect.
Well, the dreaded days of an MLB lockout are officially upon us. The CBA between the MLB and the MLBPA expired on Tuesday, with the MLB officially locking out players for the first time since 1994.
This work stoppage comes after MLB teams spent nearly $2 Billion dollars on free agent signings in the free-agent frenzy that took place prior to the lockout.
Players cannot go to team facilities or sign contracts amongst other things. Teams will not be able to trade or sign players during the lockout, and the MLB cannot use player likenesses on advertisements, websites, social media, and more.
The MLB’s Winter Meetings that were set to take place on December 6th-9th have also been canceled.
There is a lot of confusion amongst fans of baseball, wondering if we will have a delayed season in 2022 or just being confused about what a lockout even is.
Don’t fear though, I am here to explain and answer any questions that I was asked this week.
Why Is There A Lockout To Begin With?
Having the lockout take place in the offseason offers the best chance for the 2022 season to start on time. Hopefully, the MLB can come to an agreement with the players before Opening Day in April.
The MLB Players Association would like to address service time rules that have players restricted to their teams for the first six years of their careers. The MLBPA would also like to address a luxury tax overhaul to have teams spend more on players’ salaries without facing a penalty for going over the luxury tax which could essentially increase player salaries.
The MLB essentially does not want to delay or even cancel the 2022 season due to a lockout, so they are trying to strike a deal with the MLBPA prior to Spring Training, unlike in 1994 when the whole entire season was not played.
When Can Free Agents Sign Contracts?
Free Agents will be allowed to sign once the lockout comes to an end and a new CBA is agreed to. There will still be time for free agents to sign contracts once the lockout concludes.
What Is Going On With The Players?
There is a lot to break down when it comes to the situations the players are currently in. First off, players will not be getting paid. Players also cannot make any payments either.
All players can also still hold workouts based on plans provided by their respective teams prior to the lockout, but they cannot talk to coaches and trainers about their training activities. Players can still utilize mental health and COVID-related resources provided by teams.
Players also cannot make appearances on TV broadcasts, at team events, or on other team-related forms of media including TV, websites, social platforms, and etc. Advertisements or signs including players on them also had to have been taken down. Take a look at this photo here which shows the player billboards that have been taken down at GMS Field, Spring Training home of the Yankees.
The player billboards have been taken down from George M. Steinbrenner Field, home of Yankees Spring Training games
— Talkin’ Yanks (@TalkinYanks) December 3, 2021
The MLB also cannot use the likenesses of players anywhere. Just take a look at Yankees.com for example. There are no photos of current players anywhere on the roster sheet either. They are replaced with just a basic avatar with no face. Also, the front pages of MLB-related sites that are usually flooded with photos and advertisements including current players are nowhere to be seen.
Is Minor League Baseball Affected By This?
No. Players who are not on a 40-man roster or signed to an MLB contract won’t be affected by the lockout. MiLB teams can still hold practices and workouts for their players. Spring Training and games will continue as planned for them without any hiccups.
What Do Proposals Look Like And Will This Be A Fast Process?
The MLB proposals as of now supposedly include a salary floor of $100 million, to address the teams that do not spend enough on players. MLB also proposed to increase the number of Postseason teams from 10 to 14. This could get owners and the league itself more money from selling postseason tickets and from TV revenue.
As for the quickness of the agreement process, it does not look ideal. There are many issues to resolve, and few MLB insiders believe that this will be a quick process. A deadline of February 2022 is the most realistic choice here when it comes to making a deadline. Players usually are preparing to head to Spring Training come February.
In the end, as fans, we just have to hope that this does not affect the 2022 season. Possible full-out cancellation of the season could be absolutely disastrous, for fans, players, owners, and MLB employees alike. Hopefully, the MLB can address the needs of the players and we can get going with the 2022 season.