December 1st Update: With just four hours to go until the deadline, an agreement has been reached for a new five-year CBA between the owners and players. It still needs to go through the finalizing process. Two interesting tidbits from the new deal that were unveiled overnight are that the All-Star Game will go back to being an exhibition game rather than determining home-field advantage during the World Series. Also, new players in the league won’t be able to use smokeless tobacco. Eventually, this ban will be for all players in the major leagues. As details start to pour in, you can get up-to-date here.
There is something looming around Major League Baseball that no mainstream media is really talking about. Long-standing labor peace might be broken! For the first time since the 1994-1995 strike which cancelled the post-season, MLB’s clock is close to expiration. Don’t fret; losing games or the 2017 season most likely will not happen…for now.
The light doomsday is December 1, when the current five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will be history. That means another one has to be agreed upon before business matters can resume. That means, even though games won’t in jeopardy for a few more months, transactions and normal this-and-that’s at the annual winter meetings from December 4-8 in Washington DC might be on insecure grounds.
According to an ESPN article, the potential shutdown of baseball “essentially would place all typical offseason activity in a deep freeze, as well as cut off funding of benefits to players.” What is really nerveracking is if the Thursday deadline passes with no deal struck, both sides could get tougher on their stances making a quick agreement even more unlikely.
Concessions must be made. There have been talks of shortening the season, however that seems to be in the waste basket. It sounds like what needs to be worked out is how the draft will work. Owners offered to remove “the current system of forfeiture associated with the qualifying offer,” as they want players to agree with holding an international draft. The players won’t agree to that because it would affect prospects from other countries, such as in Latin America. Other topics too must be agreed upon before everybody is happy, and the luxury tax threshold might get a little testy.
There is hope that a new deal will be done before the deadline. Both sides are meeting at the MLBPA meetings in Texas this week in hopes of finalizing a multi-year CBA. If they can’t agree in the next 60 hours, we need to all buckle up and cross fingers and toes!
Written by: Michael L. Sack