We are now just 12 days away from the expiration of the current CBA, and while there have been some moves regarding free agency transactions, they have generally been of the same type. There has yet to be a long-term deal struck with any of the big names, and those that have signed are doing so on what amounts to one-year contracts. Players seem to be waiting for a bit more clarity as to what their eventual earnings opportunity will look like, and that makes sense as it’s their side being squeezed in the current CBA.
It is maybe somewhat surprising that we have seen a handful of extensions, and it’s also good that there have been a few moves for fans to dissect. You have to wonder if some of the extensions are being agreed to because players are looking for an opportunity to guarantee their money while they can. We will see how things play out after a new CBA is agreed upon, but it's certainly possible that security for those signing one-year deals is also a determining factor.
While Manfred did say that “we are focused on making an agreement prior to December 1st,” it’s the follow-up comment that looks more futile. In suggesting that shutting things down this winter is worthwhile if it gets things done, he’s basically calling the players' bluff and forcing them into a situation where missed games may be their only opportunity to push back on ownership.
During this part of the yearly schedule, players are turning their focus toward opportunities for the season ahead. By stopping that process for weeks, or even months, Manfred has effectively told the workforce the only part of the year that carries weight is the portion where owners are generating revenues.
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark has his work cut out for him. Right now, as Major League Baseball continues to be lopsided from a revenue-sharing standpoint, players are squeezed from a potential earning standpoint. The recently-announced licensing switch has baseball pushing everything to Fanatics. The league, and effectively ownership, has a stake in the company while none of those revenues are currently slated to be dispersed to players.
By suggesting the only detrimental portion of this situation being lost games, Manfred has created an opportunity for players to once again be the victims of public backlash as fans will be the ones to lose should action be delayed or canceled. We’re very quickly careening towards December 1, and the Commissioner’s office’s gamesmanship is well underway.
We will continue to try to keep updated on news and rumors regarding a potential new CBA. If you see anything online, please leave a link in the comments below and continue the conversation.