Arguably the most impactful bit of information came out on Tuesday night when baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted news about the arbitration deadline. Initially slated for December 2nd, MLB and the Players’ Union agreed to move the non-tender deadline to November 30. This is important because those arbitration-eligible players who will be sent to free agency now have roughly 24 hours to negotiate deals with clubs before the assumed lockout.
With the current Major League Baseball CBA set to expire on December 1 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time, non-tendered players will become free agents at 8 pm Eastern Time on November 30. A flood of new free agents will hit the market, and both sides will be scrambling to negotiate deals before a shutdown occurs.
The flip side of this is that Major League Baseball, and more succinctly the owners, benefit by flooding the market with free agents. They would hope that players are rushed into lesser compensation or are pushed to accept deals at a lower valuation following a lockout filled with future uncertainty.
On November 22, J.P Hoornstra posted this piece for the OC Register, noting that the MLB Players Association has prepared a lockout guide for players and agents. In the event of a lockout, all Major League Baseball activity will cease. This refers to workouts, transactions, and other scheduled items relating to the sport at its highest level.
Because Minor League Baseball is not represented by the MLBPA or under the umbrella of the MLB CBA, minor league activities will go on without change.
Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer posted a great FAQ this week with regards to all things lockout. What takes place during the shutdown? What are the key points of contention? What could be expected to come from it all? It’s worth a look.
This outcome has been assumed for some time but became even more evident before the Covid-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season. As the owners attempted to negotiate in public and paint the players in a bad light, workplace tensions grew higher than ever. While we’re ultimately dealing with billionaires and millionaires, Rob Manfred is presiding over a sport that bounced back from its last lockout due to the boom that was the Steroid Era. Manfred is the figurehead of the owners, and while he’s done their bidding during his time in office, it’s been mainly to the detriment of fans, players, and the sport as a whole.
It’s time for both sides to bridge the gap and find a way to move forward. The MLBPA needs stronger leadership than it’s seen from Tony Clark, and MLB needs anything better than what Manfred has given thus far. A week from now, we’ll be discussing the first days of the shutdown, and the only hope is that it remains brief. Don’t hold your breath.