Irving, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) After ups and downs, Major League Baseball plunged into its first outage in a quarter-century. The sport’s collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night and owners immediately shut down players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day.
This strategy, which is equivalent to an administrative strike under federal labor law, ended the peace of sports work after 9,740 days over a 26-and-a-half year period.
The teams decided to force the long-awaited showdown during an off-season rather than taking players out of risk over the summer, as they did in 1994. Players and owners managed to reach four consecutive non-stop agreements, but were accelerating toward the showdown. for more than two years.
“We believe the off-season shutdown is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. Hopefully the shutdown will trigger negotiations and bring us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive shutdown was necessary because the vision of the Players Association for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to compete.”
The talks, which began last spring, ended on Wednesday after a brief session that lasted only minutes between the two sides on dozens of key economic issues. Management negotiators left the Syndicate hotel nine hours before the deal expired at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
The 30 controlling MLB owners held a brief digital meeting to reconfirm their shutdown decision, and MLB made the announcement of the fourth-ever shutdown — to go along with five strikes — in an email to Major League Baseball Players Association.
“This drastic and unnecessary measure will not affect the players’ resolve to reach a fair contract,” union president Tony Clark said in a statement. “We remain committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that enhances competition, improves product for our fans, and enhances our membership rights and benefits.”
That pause began 30 days after Atlanta won the World Championship capping an entire season after 2020 that was cut short for the pandemic in empty ball stadiums.
The immediate effects of the shutdown were MLB’s memo to clubs to freeze contracts, cancel next week’s annual winter meetings in Orlando, Florida, and kick players out of team training facilities and weight rooms while possibly chilling ticket sales for 2022.
The union has demanded the change after outraging the average salary drop, forcing middle-class teams out of their paychecks from the wealthy and war veterans in favor of low-paid youngsters, especially among clubs that tore up their rosters to rebuild.
“As players we see big problems with that,” New York Mets player Max Scherzer said of the 2016 agreement. “First of all, we see an issue with the competition and how teams are behaving because of certain rules within that, and adjustments have to be made because of that in order to take the competition out.”
Eleven weeks remain until shooters and hunters attend spring practice on February 16, leaving about 70 days to reach an agreement that will allow for a start on time. The opening day is set for March 31, and in the past a minimum of three weeks of structured rehearsals were required.
The administration, bent on maintaining salary constraints gained in recent decades, rejected the federation’s requests for what the teams saw as important changes to the sport’s economic structure, including reducing the service time needed for free agency arbitration and salaries.
“We have offered to set a minimum salary for all clubs to meet for the first time in baseball history; to allow the majority of players to access free agency early through an age-based system that would eliminate any allegations of manipulation of service time; to increase compensation for all young players,” Manfred wrote. “When negotiations lacked momentum, we tried to create some by offering to accept the global designated hitter, to create a new draft system using sweepstakes similar to other leagues.”
Several clubs scrambled to add players before the shutdown, committing more than $1.9 billion in new contracts – including the one-day record of more than $1.4 billion on Wednesday.
Two of the eight members of the Federation’s Executive Subcommittee have signed big deals: Texas player Marcus Simin ($175 million) and Scherzer ($130 million).
“That’s actually kind of fun,” Scherzer said. “I’m a fan of the game, and to watch everyone sign now, to actually see the teams compete at this kind of good time, it’s been refreshing because we’ve had a freeze in the past several seasons.”
No active player remained from the 232-day strike that shortened the 1994 season, led to the first cancellation of the World Championship in 90 years and caused the following season to start late.
The median salary fell from $1.17 million before the strike to $1.11 million but then resumed its seemingly unforgiving rise. It peaked at just under $4.1 million in 2017, the first season of the newest CBA, but will likely drop to around $3.7 million when you factor in the final numbers for this year.
These funds are highly concentrated at the top of the salary structure. Of the nearly 1,955 players who signed contracts in the Major League at any time during the final month of the regular season, 112 players have earned $10 million or more this year as of August 31, of whom 40 have made at least $20 million, Including the shares distributed from the signing bonus. .
There were 1,397 winnings under $1 million, of which 1,271 were at $600,000 or less and 332 were under $100,000, a group of young players who shuttled back and forth to the Palace.
A union statement claimed that the shutdown was “calculated precisely to pressure players to give up rights and benefits, and to abandon good-faith bargaining proposals that would benefit not only players, but the game and the industry as a whole. … We’ve been here before, and players have risen to the occasion. Over and over again – guided by the solidarity that has been forged across generations.”
The Federation refrained from granting financial licenses, as it usually does in bargaining; Cash, US Treasuries, and investments totaled $178.5 million as of December 31, according to a financial disclosure form submitted to the US Department of Labor.
Some players’ agents have speculated that management’s credit lines may already come under pressure after the income deprivation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but clubs’ finances are more opaque in public than those of the federation, making it difficult to ascertain the comparative financial strength to withstand a long business. Stop.
He succeeded Manfred Budd Selig as commissioner in 2015 after a quarter century serving as an MLB business negotiator. He was unusually critical of the guild’s position.
“They’ve never backed away from the most extreme set of proposals in their history,” he said, including deep cuts to the revenue-sharing system, weakening the competitive credit tax, and shortening the amount of time players play for teams. All these changes will make our game less competitive.”