We are nearly two weeks into the ninth work stoppage and fourth lockout in MLB history. After the initial media wars between the league and the MLBPA, there has been a radio silence, meaning negotiations could be legitimately underway.
Collective Bargaining Agreements are among the most complicated things in all of sport. Striking a balance between the interests of players and owners is a difficult line, and any misstep in the negotiations can lead to a setback. One thing has been clear since the beginning, and that is that these talks won’t be quick.
Getting a time frame for any potential resolution has been nearly impossible. The hope is always that games are not lost because of a lockout, but there is a ticking clock for that, and time is running out faster than it seems.
However, it’s possible we’re getting our first look at an estimated time for negotiations to pick up, according to Jake Seiner of The Associated Press:
There are 141 major league free agents waiting for a freeze on roster transactions to lift once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Progress on a CBA isn’t expected until at least the weeks before pitchers and catchers are set to report, meaning another mad dash is probably in store for teams trying to fill out their rosters ahead of spring training.
As it stands, pitchers and catchers are set to report somewhere around Feb. 14, 2022. This date is obviously in flux with the lockout, but this is about where it would be had this been a normal offseason.
Although “the weeks before” is certainly open to interpretation, it does mean that there has to be some form of optimism that not even Spring Training games will be lost. This was always the hope, but there had been little to go off of once the lockout began.
Another mad dash to sign free agents wouldn’t be the worst thing, also, after the excitement of the days prior to the lockout. There are still a number of big decisions to be made, not just with free agents, but also trade talks. Several starting pitchers had been mentioned in rumors prior to December.
Tanking could be a major topic in CBA
One thing that both the players and owners agree on is that tanking is a problem that needs to be figured out in some way. The two sides reportedly remain far apart in their negotiations on the subject, but the common ground they share with regard to tanking provides hope that an agreement will come quickly.