MLB Institutes Lockout, Baseball’s First Work Stoppage Since 1994-95

Major League Baseball announced Wednesday night that it has locked out players following the expiration of the collective agreement.

The owners voted unanimously to institute the lockout once the current CBA expired at 11:59 p.m. ET with no new agreement in place. It is MLB’s first work stoppage since the 1994-95 players’ strike and the first lockout since 1990.

In a statement to fans posted on MLB.com, commissioner Rob Manfred said, “Put simply, we believe an offseason lockdown is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. out will restart negotiations and lead us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten most teams’ ability to compete. It’s just not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has not wanted to move from its starting position, compromise or collaborate on solutions.

Teams will not be allowed to make any trades involving 40-man players during the lockdown. In addition, injured players will not be able to use team facilities or coaches to rehabilitate and players and team employees will not be able to communicate in any way. Team employees were instructed not to discuss players on the 40-man rosters, and MLB.com deleted all images of 40-man roster players from its website.

The major league portion of the winter meetings in Orlando has been canceled, although the minor league portion will take place. Players not on the 40-player rosters, which include most minor leaguers, can still sign minor league free agent deals or be traded.

The last lockout in 1990 did not result in the loss of any regular season games, although it wiped out most of spring training and pushed back Opening Day to April 9. The league and players’ association still have more than three months to reach an agreement before pitchers and catchers report for 2022 spring training on Feb. 14.

Among the issues dividing the two sides are when players become eligible for free agency and salary arbitration, the amount of the competitive balance tax threshold, compensation for draft picks for agents freebies and mechanisms to discourage tanking, such as a draft lottery.

MLB Assistant Commissioner Dan Halem and MLBPA Chief Negotiator Bruce Meyer held talks in Irving, Texas this week, but an agreement between the two sides was never reached.

“The shutdown is a dramatic step, regardless of when,” the MLBPA said. in a report. “It is not required by law or for any other reason. It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure (p)layers to give up their rights and benefits, and abandon good faith bargaining proposals that will not only benefit (p)layers. )layers, but to gaming and the industry as a whole. These tactics are not new. We’ve been here before, and the players have risen to the occasion time and time again, guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do it again here.

Historically, the effects of a work stoppage on prospects and minor leaguers have been minimal.

Minor league games continued as normal during previous lockouts or strikes, with the exception of players on 40-player rosters who were not allowed to participate in games. During the 1994-95 strike, top prospects who weren’t on 40-man rosters participated in big league spring training as they normally would.

The Rule 5 draft, scheduled for Dec. 9, will not have a major league game as a result of the lockout, but there will be a minor league game. The status of the next international signing period, which is due to open on January 15, remains unclear.

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Vanderbilt, Florida and SEC top MLB Opening Day rosters

The Vanderbilt Commodores of the Southeastern Conference lead the way with 13 players on MLB’s active rosters on Opening Day. SEC member Florida is second with 11 players. Another SEC team (Arkansas) is third.

Neal T. Doss