As of February 3, there is no certainty that there will be an MLB season in 2022.
That’s right: after months of rumors, negotiations, and failed proposals, MLB and the Players Association haven’t been able to close the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as the old one expired in December 2021.
Not only that, but spring training is quickly approaching and there is no quick resolution in sight.
Training camps were supposed to open in less than two weeks from now, but with a lockout in place, that won’t happen unless a new CBA is negotiated.
At the moment, players can’t even use their team’s facilities to train or rehab injuries.
Teams can’t have any kind of contact with players until the lockout is lifted.
Players Are Running Out Of Patience
Patience is running out, especially on the players’ side.
In fact, some of the veteran MLB players are already fed up with the league’s negotiation tactics.
Sometimes, it appears the union is willing to negotiate, but the league isn’t.
Now both sides in baseball’s labor talks are disappointed, with MLB now joining players union in that regard. Union offered a couple seemingly small changes (ie lowering bonus pool to $100M from $105M; MLB remains at $10M). Chance to start spring on time about Feb. 14 is remote.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 1, 2022
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that players are starting to lose hope and get really mad at owners.
“Player leaders Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller on a recent call with MLB spoke pointedly about their unhappiness with MLB offers, hitting on competitive integrity, service time manipulation, franchise values and more,” he tweeted.
Heyman also wondered if the players’ “unvarnished honesty” could “trigger action” by the league, but at this point, it’s hard to have any faith in them.
Player leaders Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller on a recent call with MLB spoke pointedly about their unhappiness with MLB offers, hitting on competitive integrity, service time manipulation, franchise values and more. Might their unvarnished honesty trigger action?
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 2, 2022
We are talking about a group of rich people unwilling to increase the player’s minimum salary to more than $600,000, when players asked for $775,000.
We are talking about a group that is reluctant to offer significant bonuses and money prizes to young players who are already stars before their third year of service in the league.
We are talking about a group of people that pays minor leaguers between $8,000 and $14,000 from April to October and, before 2021, didn’t cover housing expenses.
And we are talking about a group of people willing to lose regular season games in order to impose their will.
We Are Headed To Lost Regular Season Games
Sadly, that’s the most likely scenario at this point: it’s hard to envision circumstances changing so quickly so games aren’t lost.
Every year, players need between a month and a month and a half of preparation: stretching, running, conditioning, weights, getting their arms loose, hitting, mound work, bullpens, facing hitters/pitching, and then warmup games.
Spring training is not, and shouldn’t be, short.
Players need to take their time to prepare for the season, which is why any delay in the start of spring training could automatically push back the start of the campaign.
Players want to play already: they can’t deal with the league’s stubbornness anymore.
And while a small percentage of them are already financially set for life, the vast majority of them really need a season to take place to support their families and themselves.
The longer the lockout drags, the less players will earn, and that’s certainly not an ideal scenario for them.
They are already fed up.