MLB Lockout Update
The NFL postseason is nearing its big game, the NHL and NBA playoff pushes are well underway and warm-minded people are beginning to daydream about baseball.
However, the MLB could be trending in the direction of a delayed or shortened season as the MLB players and owners are in their first work stoppage since there was a player strike in the 1994-1995 season.
The last CBA, which is an agreement between the players and owners having to do with all major working interactions between the two sides, expired in early December. Thus began a lockout with the owners voting on a work stoppage until a new CBA would be agreed upon.
This past week the owners and player association met on consecutive days to negotiate, and while a new CBA was not agreed upon, some slight progress was made.
One of the most interesting developments in the lockout and in these meetings was the discussion of pre-arbitration bonuses.
MLB rosters are tending younger and younger because owners do not have to worry about paying these rising stars before they hit arbitration. Essentially, great young players have to be severely underpaid until they finally hit arbitration.
The players would like the top young talent to get a pre-arbitration bonus so that the owners cannot take advantage of their rising stars and these players can be paid what they deserve.
In the recent meetings, the two sides discussed this topic but ultimately what the league offered in what a pre-arbitration bonus could be was way off from what the MLBPA was looking for.
Another general talking point in these labor talks is the general minimum pay of an MLB player.
Without a salary cap, it is no secret that some ball clubs have laughably low payrolls. Players on the bubble of the roster sometimes struggle to stay playing baseball while dealing with a low salary.
The MLBPA after a minimum raises to $775K while MLB has offered a raise to $615K.
Overall, the MLBPA and MLB owners are still a long way off from agreeing on a new CBA and ending the current lockout.
Although the situation has looked bleak, it is a positive sign to see the players and league negotiating terms and at the very least getting a start along with establishing a foundation.
At this point late into January, it certainly seems like Spring Training could be in peril with the best scenario being a small delay in baseball’s preseason activities and worst being a forgoing of it altogether.
Either way, the sides are talking and that is good for fans of baseball. If the talks continue and negotiations improve, there just might be a full regular season and everyone can forget this lockout ever existed.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.