MLB is headed for a lockout at the start of December.
So barring some unexpected change, it is a matter of when and not if for the owners and the players.
A lockout will affect free agency in that the league will basically be shut down until a resolution is found.
But there is nothing stopping players from signing before the end of November.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan revealed that two of the biggest stars on the market may try to get a deal done before a lockout is in place.
In an unexpected turn, shortstop Corey Seager and infielder Marcus Semien are among the players whose markets have accelerated to the point they could sign before the expected Dec. 1 lockout, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 12, 2021
As he explains, there will be a free-agent frenzy once operations resume again so teams and players alike can just get a deal done now and worry about the lockout later.
Sources: #Rangers officials have met with Scott Boras, the agent for free agent Corey Seager (among others). Seager is known to have a strong relationship with Texas manager Chris Woodward, dating back to their time with the Dodgers, as @Feinsand wrote today. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 10, 2021
So Many Stars In Focus
Passan also reports that the labor stoppage is expected to last until February.
However, they can solve that by getting a deal done now.
Teams should also be motivated to act fast so they can land their stars and head into the winter.
In general, MLB free agency moves slow on an annual basis.
So waiting until February to make a big splash is not out of the ordinary.
The difference here is that every single team is going to be active in February, so patience may not be the best strategy this year.
One player, such as Semien or Seager, signing a big deal may be all it takes to start a frenzy in the month of November.
If not, it is going to be a long and boring winter for MLB fans.