The New York Yankees and the other 29 major league teams scattered around the country have spent most of the long postseason, unable to do anything to improve their teams for a new season of baseball. A season that now seems may never happen with the complete collapse of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and at least a delay in the start of the baseball season.
On December 1, 2021, Commissioner Rob Manfred lowered the hammer on the negotiations by imposing a lockout. A lockout, he said, was necessary when the two sides in the CBA negotiations could not forge a new agreement to guide them for the next five years. That lockout forbids any team from making any transactions or even talking to players or agents about the upcoming season until a new agreement has been reached.
This was particularly harmful to the New York Yankees. While other teams scooped up nearly half of all free agents before the lockout, the Yankees sat on their hands, just watching, while having significant holes to fill and upgrades to be made.
Now that the deadline for a new agreement reached and three spring training games have already been canceled, Manfred has announced that the first two series of the regular season will be canceled. For the New York Yankees, that means they will have one less series with the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros. With no negotiations scheduled, it is likely, even more, series will be canceled, or there may be no 2022 baseball season at all. The work stoppage in 1994 led to 232 canceled games.
Now with nothing happening, obviously, each side in the negotiations is blaming each other for the cancelation of opening day. But, it’s just not the sides, the fans are disappointed and angry that millionaires and billionaires couldn’t resolve problems for the good of the game.
The blame game is now in full swing, with many players calling out MLB for their inability to come to an agreement and start the season on time. Even Yankee pitcher Gerrit Cole has scolded the league. Max Scherzer, the newly hired Mets ace, is not only blaming the league but possibly the owner of the Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner.
So far, it looks like the sides have only agreed upon a universal DH and some minor concessions from each side. But the main issue of money, and how much each gets, is still as contested at the very beginning of the negotiations.
The league and union don’t seem to be too interested in resuming negotiations. Expanded playoffs are not even complete. Meanwhile, the financial issues at the heart of this dispute; minimum salaries and CBT thresholds — are as divisive as they’ve been all winter. It is likely that the only talk in the coming days will be who to blame for this mess. One must remember that every day this goes on without a resolution is another game lost.