The last few days have brought about some of the most exciting and frenzied offseason moments in MLB history. Usually, players and teams take more time to negotiate and sign, with most of the high-value signings taking place over a longer period of time.
However, this offseason, the league was working with an artificial deadline: Wednesday, Dec. 1. This is because at 8:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 1, the current iteration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, and MLB could impose a lockout that freezes all negotiations, signings, and other transactions.
On Tuesday, there were a number of meetings between the league and the players union, none of which came even close to a new agreement. The lack of meaningful negotiation on Tuesday in Dallas makes it all the more likely that a lockout is coming, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
The two sides met twice for a total of 65 minutes Tuesday unable to bridge the colossal gap. The union presented a proposal Tuesday morning which was flatly rejected by MLB’s negotiating team – including seven owners. MLB executives departed the meeting after 30 minutes, reconvened four hours later, and met again for 35 minutes.
While avoiding a lockout seems almost impossible, Evan Drellich of The Athletic detailed how the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 could be avoided.
The best-case scenario for what is effectively deadline day, Wednesday, would be a sense of momentum that convinces owners to put off moving for a lockout at midnight entering Thursday. Getting to a full deal by the end of Wednesday is impossible, but theoretically, they could gain enough steam in some areas to want to keep moving.
Both reports say that the two sides will meet again in Dallas on Wednesday morning in a last-ditch effort to save the offseason. However, owners could firmly believe that a lockout is the best option to get a deal done and not lose any playing time in 2022.
If a lockout does occur, February 1 would serve as a soft deadline for a new CBA. This date comes two weeks before pitchers and catcher report to Spring Training, and it would behoove the league and the players to come to an agreement by then so free agents can find a new team quickly.
Wednesday could be a drama-filled day for Major League Baseball. Hopefully — but not likely — there can be some sort of compromise made.
Angels, Reds have preliminary trade discussions
The Angels and Cincinnati Reds reportedly had exploratory discussions surrounding Luis Castillo. Obviously, there has not been significant traction on a deal between the two sides, and a lockout would halt any and all ongoing talks.
When a new CBA is agreed to, perhaps the two sides can reconvene to make something happen.