MLB Lockout

MLB+Lockout

Mark Elliott , Editor-In-Chief

The MLB and MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) are currently in a longstanding stalemate. The owners of Major League teams initiated a lockout of players following the expiration of the Collective Bargaining agreement. During lockout, players already under contract are still being paid. However, essentially all other transactions such as trades and new contracts are frozen during this time period. 

This is the first stoppage in the MLB since the 1994 players strike when the players refused to play in the postseason. The season was scheduled to start March 31st of this year, but that indeed may not be the case. 

In more recent news, it has come out that if there isn’t a deal signed by Monday, February 28th, regular season games will get canceled and not made up. There have been 3 different proposals from the MLB to the players union, all of which rejected. 

MLB proposed there be 14 teams that make the playoffs instead of the traditional 10-team playoff introduced in 2012. The players also denied a lottery draft system, modeled after the NBA. Essentially the bottom 13 or so teams are all in a lottery for each pick, the worse the team ranks, the higher the chance is that they land a number one draft pick. 

Lastly, the players also denied a universal designated hitter, meaning both AL and NL would have a designated hitter hit for the pitcher. 

There has been a lot of lead up and tension to this point, as following the 2021 season a lot of people foresaw this coming. MLB teams went to work in free agency during November, there was about 1.9 billion dollars worth of contracts signed. This included a record high of 1.4 billion dollars on just December 1st. The lockout officially began on December 2nd, 2021, as announced by commissioner Rob Manfred. 

This as discussed, initialized a freeze in trades and new contact signings. Despite all of this though, the minor leagues schedule remains the same. Regarding the minor leagues, there has also been talk about raising their minimum wage, as the yearly salary is difficult to make a living off of. 

This also puts the Kansas City Royals in a great deal of trouble as they have many key free agents unsigned that cannot be signed because of the lockout. Players such as pitchers Greg Holland, Jesse Hahn, Jakob Junis, Scott Blewett, Kyle Zimmer, and lastly infielder Hanser Alberto. The Royals still have the majority of their main stars like Salvador Perez, Whit Merrifield, and Adalberto Mondesi. 

The Royals are looking to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 where they won the World Series. With a likely shortened season, the MLB’s future could be in jeopardy.