Happy New Year From MLB Owners And Players

The lockout begins its second month..

The new year for Major League Baseball begins much the same way December 2021 started. The Major League Baseball owners and the Major League Baseball players are in a labor impasse and it is because of money. How to split up the billions of dollars that flow into the industry annually. The  business of baseball has continued though as the Cleveland Guardians’ ownership is getting hundreds of millions of dollars of public funding to upgrade the team’s stadium. The Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays ownership groups still want new stadiums.

It is always about money. MLB does not have money problems. In the lead up to the lockout, MLB owners spent more than $1.7 billion signing players to long term deals. Distressed industries do not spend that kind of money on employees so it follows that MLB is not a financially depressed industry. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the work stoppage was “bad for business”. Manfred said the union’s proposal for greater free agency and wider salary arbitration would damage small-market teams. The players’ association proposed, starting with the 2023-24 offseason, a change in free agency from six years to five years. The players also want free agency for non-free agency eligible players 30.5 of age and older.  Manfred said, “shortening the period of time that teams can control players makes it even harder for them to compete.”  Until there are spring training facilities closed and games missed, only industry people will notice there is a lockout. The lockout was designed to gain leverage over the players and prevent the players from going on strike. The 2022 Major League Baseball season is scheduled to begin on March 31st. No one has lost money yet so there is no urgency. There are two months left to get a deal done without impacting the upcoming season.

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.