Written Chanler Twedt & Alex Loew
Major League Baseball (MLB) is experiencing its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 players strike. Anyone who follows baseball or sports in general, may not know what a lockout is or why MLB has currently halted any kind of baseball-related activity. Anything found on the world wide web may be too complicated to understand, especially when most of the explanations are just a series of big words. We hope to answer all your questions to help you understand what exactly is going on in the baseball world.
What is a lockout?
A strike and a lockout are different in the fact that a strike is a result of employees refusing to work, while a lockout is when the management side refuses to allow the employees to work. Both lockouts and strikes can be for the same reason and end up in the same result that no work is being done. In the case of the MLB, the management side is team owners and the employee side is the players. The MLB team owners unanimously voted for a work stoppage just hours before the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) had expired. The CBA is the negotiated contract between the players and owners that allows for both sides of the business to get what they want, usually centered around money.
Why is the lockout happening?
Owners and players were unable to agree to the new CBA until the current contract expired. Owners have shut out players to disband the union and prevent player strikes during the season. Many economic issues need to be resolved before the new transaction can be closed and the lockout will not end until a new CBA deal is tentatively agreed.
Proposed deals and negotiations so far.
There have been a few meetings between the MLB and the executives since the lockout has taken place. While there have been some minor details straightened out and very few agreements, the league is still a long way from starting business operations again. One of the main concerns of the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) is allowing players to make more money earlier in their career.
The MLBPA requested a new minimum salary change for all players from $570,500 to $755,000. The Players Association has also requested a benefit pool of $105 million for the top 30 players with the highest WAR at the end of the season. WAR is a statistic that stands for Wins Above Replacement, and it is used to determine how valuable a player is to a team’s success. For an example of how far away the two sides are from agreeing, the executives sent a counteroffer to the prize pool of only $10 million. With money in mind, the MLBPA has also proposed a change in luxury tax to make lower market teams more competitive. This would allow the lower market teams to sign bigger free agents in the off-season.
How could this affect the upcoming season?
One of the main points to take away is that both the players and owners do not want to miss regular-season games. The executive side recently released a statement stating that they are willing to miss regular-season games to fix key issues and find an agreement. They proposed that the statement is not a threat, but rather emphasizes the importance of the lockout issue. According to this article from msn.com (also mentioned below), “The lockout would have no teeth if the owners weren’t willing to lose games (and, by extension, fans). Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report in roughly three weeks. For spring training to start on time, the two sides
would need to reach an agreement within a week or so. March 1 is the approximate date they would need to reach a deal to begin the regular season on time.”
For more information about the MLB lockout you can visit MLB lockout: Owners, MLBPA make progress after negotiations but remain far apart on key issues, per report (msn.com) or MLB lockout: Everything to know about baseball’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 – CBSSports.com.