Poll: How long will the MLB lockout last?

How long will the lockout last?

  • Just a couple of weeks. Doesn't impact the season at all.

    Votes: 40 13.6%
  • A couple of months. The start of the season could be briefly delayed but it's largely unaffected.

    Votes: 151 51.2%
  • Several months. A significant number of regular season games are lost.

    Votes: 68 23.1%
  • Half the season. The regular season begins mid-summer and we have a 2020-like schedule.

    Votes: 21 7.1%
  • The entire season.

    Votes: 15 5.1%

  • Total voters
    295

BringBackMo

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If there's one thing that looks like a near certainty it's that there will be a baseball lockout or strike. The CBA has expired and both sides look dug in. Here's a bit of a recap from the off-season thread where we've been discussing the issue. So how long do you think this stoppage (if we have one) will last?

Looks like there will be a lockout if a new deal isn't agreed to by the end of the month.
Silverman in the Glob looks at the situation:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/10/30/sports/answering-some-key-questions-mlbs-collective-bargaining-agreement-is-set-expire/

What the owners want:
The bolded would be a tough blow for fans of teams that spend money to try to win. And obviously a disaster for the players. So I wouldn't be surprised if Tony Clark agreed to it.

What the players want:
No mention of actually wanting to tie the luxury tax to the game's revenues. NFL, NBA, and NHL salary caps are tied to revenues. Doesn't look like either side is looking at doing the same for baseball.

In MLB, player's share of revenues dropped from 57% in 2015 to 54% in 2018.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2019/01/11/economic-data-shows-mlb-spent-less-on-player-salaries-compared-to-revenues-in-2018/?sh=15e5b19939d7
I have no idea how that has changed since the pandemic hit, but I doubt it's increased.
nd Like I have said about 10 times this season, the so called “Luxury tax” is a salary cap just with a different name. There is a reason the Sox and the Yankees and the dodgers rarely if ever go above the highest threshold since that idiocy was implemented. The penalties for doing so are drastic that it can cripple a franchise for constantly going over. And that’s not even getting to the asinine caps on draft spending and the penalties for exceeding those as well. I mean we all saw how the Yankees and Sox spent in FA when those rules were not in place.
Mlb should be more worried about the cheap-ass owners who not only don’t spend money but don’t give a shit about fielding a competitive team. Those types of owners are bad for the game and are the ones who need to be “punished” Not the ones who actually want to spend money to field a team.
$180 million is a negotiating point. Happy to make a Jimmy Fund bet that we don’t see that as a rule.
The proposed $100 million salary floor is interesting. Looking at Spotrac (not sure if there's a better source), 12 teams were under that threshold for 2021, some by just a few million (e.g. Milwaukee, at $97.4 million), some barely halfway there (e.g. Cleveland, at $50.2 million). If you add up the total shortfalls by those 12 teams, that's an extra $284.5 million that would be going into players' direct deposits if each team spent up to the floor, which works out to about 7% of the ~$4 billion in total player salaries league-wide this year. That may not be worth accepting in exchange for what amounts to a fixed salary cap, and fighting for a defined percentage of revenue may well be the better path, but that's real money going from the owners to the players.

The devil is in the details, of course. How would the floor be tracked, on a rolling basis or an annual basis? What are the penalties for falling below, would it be just a payout of the difference to the team's current players, or would it be more punitive, like docking draft picks or reduction in revenue sharing income for repeated failures to meet the floor? The MLBPA would probably prefer something that incentivizes teams to go out and participate in the free agent market, driving up salaries for everyone, so the nature of the penalties beyond just a make-up payment would be a point of contention as well due to the potential knock-on effects.

EDIT: I should probably also do the analysis for the reverse, the teams that are over the proposed $180 million number. That's a total of 7 teams, ranging from crazy over the line (Dodgers, $267.2 million) to the barely over (Angels, at $180.35 million), for a total overage of $153.5 million. Assuming no team spent over $180 million nor under $100 million, that's a net increase in player salaries of $131 million, amounting to an increase of about 3.23% to total player salary. Again, not better than tying spending to revenue, but better than status quo.

EDIT 2: Looking at the Spotrac chart again, that appears to be just for the 26-man roster. Changing the drop-down menu to "Luxury Tax Allocations" and using the "Luxury Tax Payroll" column to presumably get full 40-man payrolls (not sure if it's going by actual salary or AAV), the numbers are very different: 5 teams under $100 million by a combined $131.2 million, 9 teams above $180 by a combined $278.2 million. From that perspective, looks like a worse deal for the players.
So the question is, in the salary cap/luxury tax era, as one collective bargaining agreement expired and negotiations began on the next one, has there been a case where owners have publicly demanded that players accept a lower salary cap than existed in the previous CBA? I'm not asking whether they've demanded a lower percentage of growth over the previous salary cap/luxury tax. I'm asking whether they have said, The salary cap in the just-expired CBA was X. In the new CBA we want it to be Y percent lower than X.

Again, there may be multiple examples of this kind of thing but I am unaware of them. I’m banging this drum because I wonder what this seemingly radical stance augurs for the stand-off to come. As I posted earlier, MLB broadcast revenues are estimated to be up significantly, from both national and regional outlets. We know that franchise valuations have continued to grow rapidly. The game appears to be flush with cash. Can the players accept making not just a lower percentage of those growing revenues but fewer actual dollars in their paychecks?
 

mikeford

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I don't feel like the MLBPA is nearly as strong as it once was under Don Fehr so I don't think they will have the rank and file militancy to last out for an entire season. The abbreviated COVID 2020 season may play a role in this as well since I'm assuming guys didn't get their 162 game salary for 60 games.
 

LogansDad

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About as long as it takes an Astros starter to warm up as a reliever in the middle of an inning.
Great. Season over.

I voted a couple months, but I could see it going either way (quick or really long) as well. It's such a weird financial climate right now, it's hard to know how willing each side is to dig on on the various issues that they are facing.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I voted a couple months only because I don't foresee movement until the opening of spring training is threatened. These doofuses need a real deadline for action, and somehow I can't see December 1 being it. February 15 or thereabouts, when pitchers and catchers would otherwise be reporting in Florida and Arizona, seems more tangible.
 

jon abbey

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I think that roughly a month of the season will end up being cancelled, the owners will be happy to save 1/6 of a season in salary and the players can’t afford to cave again.
 

YTF

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I voted a couple of weeks, but could see it going a couple of months. I hoping that there is minimal impact to the 2022 season if any at all. Given the Covid shortened season of a year ago, I don't know that either side has the stomach for missed paychecks and greatly diminished revenue. Hopefully that recent memory fosters a "Get 'er Done" approach by both sides.
 

mauf

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Players won’t want to miss paychecks.

For owners, it’s probably worth losing April to get a good long-term deal, but I think they’ll worry about long-term impact on the sport. It’s easier to accept damage when it means slower growth (as it did in the 1990s) than when it means more rapid decline (as it would now, both in terms of ticket sales and TV ratings).

I think we get a deal in early-mid March, an abbreviated Spring Training, and at least a 150-game season.
 

amfox1

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Players won’t want to miss paychecks.

For owners, it’s probably worth losing April to get a good long-term deal, but I think they’ll worry about long-term impact on the sport. It’s easier to accept damage when it means slower growth (as it did in the 1990s) than when it means more rapid decline (as it would now, both in terms of ticket sales and TV ratings).

I think we get a deal in early-mid March, an abbreviated Spring Training, and at least a 150-game season.
Sounds about right. My guess is that the CBA gets signed first week of March (which will begin an accelerated free agency period), players report second week of March, season is pushed back 7-10 days (was due to begin on March 31, season now starts on April 8), 156 game season - 76 divisional games (19 per team), 60 non-divisional league games (6 per team), 20 interleague games (4 per team), 28 man rosters for April (2022 only) and September, universal DH implemented.
 

E5 Yaz

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In the meantime, how do teams improve their rosters? I get the idea of a free agent frenzy in March, but an offseason without trades and such?
 

snowmanny

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And those would have been three of the best value free agent signings in Red Sox history.
 

Ale Xander

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Do we know what the timeline is on the start? When would we know if there will be a postponement/cancelation of spring training and/or the March 31 games?
Thanks, RHF
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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Do we know what the timeline is on the start? When would we know if there will be a postponement/cancelation of spring training and/or the March 31 games?
Probably not until late January (on postponement of ST) and not until February or early March for Opening Day. A lock-out is going to be a day-to-day thing, assuming both sides remain engaged in trying to negotiate.
 

lexrageorge

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Why did the owners even bother proposing a cut to pension funding? That's not negotiating in good faith in any way, shape, or form.
 

TomBrunansky23

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Been watching MLB network for about 45 min now. Not one clip of a current player even when discussing the 11th hour signings and deals.

Guess it's Ken Burns and the same 5 movies for the rest of the off season. Over the holidays my family has always watched a ton of their "best of" and top players shows. Guess not this year.
 

soxhop411

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Red(s)HawksFan

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The purging of media involving current players seems petty, but isn't it a legal move based on the CBA expiring? If they're going to lock out the players, then they shouldn't even appear to be trying to continue to profit off the players they're not allowing to work. They're "Ron Mayday"ing the entire group of active players.
 

Catcher Block

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The purging of media involving current players seems petty, but isn't it a legal move based on the CBA expiring? If they're going to lock out the players, then they shouldn't even appear to be trying to continue to profit off the players they're not allowing to work. They're "Ron Mayday"ing the entire group of active players.
Correct. The image and likeness are part of the CBA, so they have no choice. They can't be used in the promotion of anything the team sells. This includes promo items, pictures that would hang outside a ticket office, or even an image of a field where you can't identify specific players. If you have tickets in your Ballpark App, chances are they're still in there, but they look a bit different today.
 

lexrageorge

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True but without a deal, there won't be a season. Doing the lockout now (as opposed to March) is just a negotiation tactic.
Agree, and it's standard practice in all sports leagues when a CBA expires. All it means is that a new agreement wasn't imminent when the deadline hit.
 

Archer1979

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In answer to the poll... I seek inspiration from Ron White: "All the way to the scene of the crash! Which is pretty lucky, because that's where we're headed! "

The two sides look like they're not even close on even the key framework.
 

JOBU

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The Manfred “letter to fans” is a pretty terrible look. Blaming players for all the problems. I guess that is to be expected, but still this all just seems so childish and petty.
 

E5 Yaz

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Watching a bit of Manfred's press conference this morning and just had to laugh. When did MLB Network starts putting "Robert D Manfred Jr" under his face when he speaks? Wasn't it always Rob Manfred? Does he think his full name makes him seem more important?
 

soxhop411

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Clark speaking with the media today as well
View: https://twitter.com/ByJamesWagner/status/1466446396681248769

Tony Clark and Bruce Meyer, the union’s lead negotiator, are also hosting their own news conference in the Dallas area this morning. Clark: “From the outset, it seems as if the league has been more interested in the appearance of bargaining than bargaining itself.”
View: https://twitter.com/chelsea_janes/status/1466447218391625729

Clark on Manfred's letter, posted to social media last night: "It would have been beneficial to the process to have spent as much time negotiating in the room as it appeared was spent on the letter."
 

Ivo Rentoren

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Sep 23, 2021
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Hi all,

First post, I've been lurking here since 1999. I voted "a couple of months" but I can easily see this going a bit longer. My sympathy is with the players since I believe some of the changes to free agency they are requesting are desperately needed. In this day and age I just don't think it's fair anymore for young players to be under the team's control for as long as they currently are. But I realize that any changes to the free agency system would fundamentally affect the economics of baseball from the owners' perspective and require new approaches to running a major league franchise. Hence my fear that negotiations may take longer. All this, of course, assuming that the players stick together and don't fold as soon as the start of spring training approaches.
 

canyoubelieveit

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The Manfred “letter to fans” is a pretty terrible look. Blaming players for all the problems. I guess that is to be expected, but still this all just seems so childish and petty.
Came to this thread to see if anyone else had exactly this reaction. His letter looks like a draft you'd write because it's how you feel, before a level-headed advisor tells you how you need to be more of a grown-up and a diplomat, and so you revise it accordingly before sharing it with the public. It's woefully counterproductive from any type of ongoing negotiation / progress standpoint.
 

LogansDad

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Maybe I've become overly cynical, but this part to me screams that the owners expect this to be a long lockout, maybe the full year, and that they specifically made the recent big free agent signings in order to proclaim, "See??!! We're doing OUR part!!"

When we began negotiations over a new agreement, the Players Association already had a contract that they wouldn’t trade for any other in sports. Baseball’s players have no salary cap and are not subjected to a maximum length or dollar amount on contracts. In fact, only MLB has guaranteed contracts that run 10 or more years, and in excess of $300 million. We have not proposed anything that would change these fundamentals. While we have heard repeatedly that free agency is “broken” – in the month of November $1.7 billion was committed to free agents, smashing the prior record by nearly 4x. By the end of the offseason, Clubs will have committed more money to players than in any offseason in MLB history.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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This is all so ridiculous. MLB had a great year, with a lot of exciting young stars emerging and seemed to have some momentum and the owners seem intent on screwing it up. Shameful. If games, or god forbid, a season is lost…..in the aftermath of CoViD, I think it will take a long long time for the league to recover from. I don’t know how Manfred or the owners think they can win this one in the court of public opinion.