With MLB owners and the MLBPA unable to come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before the expiration of the 2017-21 version of the agreement, the league imposed a lockout on players. Since, the two sides have been at odds in the court of public opinion.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has called the lockout necessary, albeit disappointing, saying that the players have been unwilling to come to the table with reasonable measures and proposals. The MLBPA’s lead negotiator, Bruce Meyer, has seen things through a different lens, however.
Meyer believes that it’s the owners and Manfred who have been unreasonable and unrelenting on a number of critical issues, leading to a stalemate in the negotiation process. In fact, Meyer accused MLB of proposing “radical” measures while lying about it in the media, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic:
“Our proposal was to put it back where it used to be, where it was for I think approximately 15 years,” Meyer said. “So that’s not a radical proposal. We’ve made proposals to provide certain guys the ability to accrue service time in additional ways designed to combat service-time manipulation. Not a radical proposal.
“The radical proposals have come from the other side. The other side has proposed to completely eliminate salary arbitration, which is one of the signature accomplishments of this union, to replace it with a wage scale. … To extend the period of team control potentially for players far longer than they have the ability to control them now. To put in a new, even worse kind of (luxury) tax at the top.”
Manfred has not responded to these claims directly, but he has spoke about the lockout as a whole, saying that he’s fully aware that the decision is unpopular and bad for the sport of baseball.
“It’s not something that we undertake lightly,” Manfred said. “We understand it’s bad for our business. We took it out of a desire to drive the process forward to an agreement now.
“It’s part of the theory that underlies the National Labor Relations Act. People need pressure sometimes to get to an agreement. Candidly, we didn’t feel that sense of pressure from the other side during the course of this week, and the only tool available to you under the act is to apply economic leverage.”
Throughout these negotiations, one thing that has remained consistent is the league’s stance that the lockout was a necessary measure, while the player’s have argued that a lockout was dramatic and not needed. That right there is enough to show how far apart the two sides are.
There is no doubt that this lockout will continue into 2022, with the hope being that a deal can be agreed to before February. The goal has always been to get this resolved so that no games are lost, but the petty fighting through the media certainly doesn’t provide any glimmer of hope.
Regardless of which side is actually being unreasonable and unwilling to compromise, both sides need to figure out how to negotiate with one another in a way that moves baseball forward.
Noah Syndergaard responds to MLB lockout
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard has never been shy about revealing his opinions to the public. Shortly after the imposed lockout, Syndergaard joined a group of MLB players that changed their Twitter profile pictures to blank silhouettes.
He also posted a tweet poking fun at the notion that owners had no choice but to impose a lockout.