Will lockout ruin momentum MLB has built this offseason?

Aug 1, 2020; Denver, General view as Colorado Rockies fans watch from outside the first base Coors Field gate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2020; Denver, General view as Colorado Rockies fans watch from outside the first base Coors Field gate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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On December 1 at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time), the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Major League Baseball players and team owners will officially expire. If no new deal is made, MLB owners will force a work stoppage in the form of a lockout.

Talks between the two sides have reportedly been moving along. However, given the deadline is so close, it is highly unlikely a deal will be reached. If so, it would be the first time since the players strike in the 1994-95 season.

Essentially, the players’ would like to address the diminishing amount they get in return of the league revenues (declining average player salary), teams holding back MLB-ready prospects to tank, and other issues as well. These days, most teams have constructed their teams to be younger, and the players feel it is time to get those younger players paid more.

To the contrary, owners will likely be hoping to keep things as is. Simply put, it’s a fight over money.

With so many big-time signings already made this offseason, would a lockout ruin all of the momentum being built for the 2022 MLB season?

Going into the 2022 MLB season, there is a ton of excitement due to some familiar names going to new places next season. The Texas Rangers signed free agent shortstop Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million contract, and also second baseman/shortstop Marcus Semien to a seven-year, $175 million contract. Their American League West rival, the Seattle Mariners, added the 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray and second baseman/outfielder Adam Frazier.

Also on the pitching front, how can we forget the New York Mets getting some help for Jacob deGrom in the rotation by signing pitcher Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract? Even the Los Angeles Angels are making a high-risk, high-reward signing with the addition of pitcher Noah Syndergaard to a one-year deal.

Both the American League and National League have been shaken up drastically, and anticipation for next season couldn’t be any greater at the moment. There’s never the right time to be in a lockout for any sport but, right now, couldn’t be any worse timing for MLB. A game that for years has been trying to bring new viewers has been successful thanks to young up-and-coming stars like Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Fernando Tatis Jr. However, depending on how long the lockout is, they’re risking losing the casual baseball fan.

Realistically, the faster an agreement is made, the less of a threat it will be on the start of the 2022 season. With early February signifying the start of spring training, time is of the essence. If March 1 arrives without a new deal, the possibility of a delayed start to the season looms larger.

It is likely that top-shelf free agents such as Semien, Scherzer, and Kevin Gausman ($110 million from the Toronto Blue Jays) rushed to complete their deals before a lockout was in place. Can you blame them? Meanwhile, guys like Carlos Correa, who is “the best of the rest,” and other free agents have to wait it out. Those kinds of deals typically occur towards the end of free agency,  and signing teams may, in some cases, want to survey the state of play in a new CBA before making any moves.

A brief history of previous MLB work stoppages. dark. Next

While it’s easy to put all of the blame on Commissioner Rob Manfred’s back, remember that he works for the 30 team owners filled with a variety of different beliefs on the CBA. A lockout right now would literally be the worst timing, but most of us can see this coming from a mile away. Can the two sides find common ground for a new CBA before it’s too late?