The New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams have been sitting idly by, unable to make any transactions to improve their teams as there is an MLB lockout in effect due to the sides not coming to a new agreement. Commissioner Rob Manfred immediately instituted a lockout when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired on December 1, 2021. Since then, no substantial talks have taken place.
With just about six weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports that there are hopes that discussions will begin again to address the economic issues that caused the lack of an agreement. However, if they don’t start soon, it could affect the start of spring training. Drellich reports:
Major League Baseball is preparing new core economic proposals to deliver to the Players Association. When they’re presented, likely this month, core economic talks in the sport will have restarted for the first time since owners initiated a lockout on December 2, marking a positive development.
The two sides are so far apart that the money issues for both sides probably won’t be resolved quickly or easily. Because it is labor vs. owners, the primary issue is money, who gets it, and how much, and when. These problems will be contentious because the players feel the owners have had their way with them in the last several agreements, and they are not going to allow that this time.
The players want more of the revenue coming to them, as the last several seasons, their share and shrunk. In addition, they want to see an end to the occasional practice of service-time manipulation (i.e., when teams hold back a clearly ready prospect to delay his free agency and arbitration eligibility for an entire year) and the “tanking” problem, among other matters. This amounts to wanting more pay earlier in their careers. They will also be seeking incentives to make teams more competitive. They also want to see an end to the luxury tax ceiling to accomplish this.
Hal Steinbrenner and the other owners would like to keep everything just like it is, maintaining the status quo. They believe things as they are, have worked out for them just nicely. So for them, they don’t want to see a change in timelines for arbitration eligibility — currently three years of MLB service time in almost all instances — and free agency — now six years of MLB service time. Although those are the major issues, many other issues, including play rules, could cause the talks to come to another halt.
None of these issues are new, being discussed several times before. That being the case, even those talks supposedly started again don’t look for early resolutions. Add to that the growing animosity between the two sides, and it is not looking good. Manfred, for his part, should be the man to get an agreement done. He is a lawyer and has a degree in labor relations. Unfortunately, he seems to be owned by the MLB owners. Regardless look for at least some action during January; time is running out on getting the 2022 baseball season.