The Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement was set to expire Wednesday night at midnight. Without a new deal in place, owners were set to lock out the players beginning on Thursday, which means we’d be looking at the first work stoppage in 26 years.
There’s no new agreement, and but 30 MLB owners voted to lock out the players, and this could get long and ugly.
Even though MLB officials met with the player’s union multiple times this week, they didn’t come close to finding common ground, with both sides very comfortable digging in.
What is a lockout? The league will freeze all league business until a new deal is in place. So forget about a hot stove league this winter. There will be no free agent signing, no trades, heck, not even new, high-calorie menu items that teams will be rolling out next season can be introduced.
Some players got lucky, however. With the CBA set to expire, six players agreed to nine-figure contracts. In November, teams went on a spending spree, signing players to more than $1.7 billion in contracts.
Players want significant changes to compensation, especially for younger players who are high producers. Those players are paid what teams choose to pay them their first three years in the league. Players also want the tax ceiling set at a higher level.
Owners are looking for things like a pitch clock and a 14-team playoff field to drive more revenue in the $11 billion business.
Work stoppages usually last as long as players can hold off with no million-dollar salaries being paid. This time the players say they have a big war chest filled with cash and can start tapping into it when needed.