Author Topic: Baseball labor dispute and potential strike in 2021  (Read 113 times)

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Online MtPleasantNatsFan

  • Posts: 56
I talked to a friend who works for a pro sports league (vague enough?) who expressed real concern that the issues concerning baseball will result in a multi-day strike in 2021 when the contract is up for renewal.

Cited issues include - teams willing to “tank,” the Astros cheating scandal, robot umpires, and affect on players, lackluster free agency bidding, and this thing about MLB funding the minor leagues

He was really serious that MLB at the greatest risk of a strike in 2021 as they have been since the last strike


Offline Five Banners

  • Posts: 988
I talked to a friend who works for a pro sports league (vague enough?) who expressed real concern that the issues concerning baseball will result in a multi-day strike in 2021 when the contract is up for renewal.

Cited issues include - teams willing to “tank,” the Astros cheating scandal, robot umpires, and affect on players, lackluster free agency bidding, and this thing about MLB funding the minor leagues

He was really serious that MLB at the greatest risk of a strike in 2021 as they have been since the last strike


With Manfred at the helm, I'm not inclined to expect rational planning to infuse the process

Online HalfSmokes

  • Posts: 20503
The Red Sox- one of the richest teams in baseball- just traded one of the best position players for essentially nothing  because they didn’t want to pay him. There is going to be a strike

Offline Dave in Fairfax

  • Posts: 114
I have been predicting this for a while. Free agency is to me the biggest issue. I think players accepted a certain period of team control with the expectation that they would make up for that in free agency. It was an unwritten assumption, though Jose Bautista made it explicit when he said players did expect payment based on past performance. With more analytically-driven teams refusing to pay for older players, that unwritten system has broken down. So the CBA negotiations are likely to include a demand for earlier free agency. Since the teams do have a valid argument that team control is the benefit they receive for assuming the risk of player development, each side has a position they are likely to stick to, increasing the risk of a strike.

Tanking teams is a somewhat related issue, since it reduces the number of teams willing to bid on free agents, but I am not sure how a new CBA could address that. Joel Sherman recently mentioned limiting the number of years a team could get better draft picks to reduce the incentive to go into multi-year "rebuilds"; that may be an option.

I believe the owners may be expecting that they will need to compromise on the team control issue, and the minor league reforms are their way of getting ahead of the issue and cutting player development costs. They would also be inclined to shift much more of the player development burden to the NCAA and colleges, as with the NBA and NFL. There would still be some need for the minors, since even four full years of college ball wouldn't prepare most players for the MLB grind.

Expanding the DH to the NL might be another matter addressed in the next CBA, but I don't think there is a huge disagreement between players and owners on this. It is more among fans.

Online HalfSmokes

  • Posts: 20503
If team control becomes and issue, I’d expect it to be big vs small team since team control makes small markets able to be both viable and competitive

Offline Count Walewski

  • Posts: 2297
My hope is that they can come to an agreement where players accept additional arbitration years (or other meaningful changes to the arb system) in lieu of earlier free agency. I do think that earlier free agency would wreck the ability of a lot of smaller market and/or cheap teams in large markets to build winning teams. A salary floor might also appease player demands.

Offline nfotiu

  • Posts: 3837
  • Juan Soto aka Human Wildcat
Dealing with service time manipulation is an obvious concession for the owners.  I'd be ok if they offered earlier free agency or set it an age like 26 in exchange for a term limit on contracts of 7 years or extensions for 7 years past free agency.   The long contracts aren't good for baseball and are having the effect of moving the stars to irrelevant, mismanaged teams.   

Offline NJ Ave

  • Posts: 3468
I do think that earlier free agency would wreck the ability of a lot of smaller market and/or cheap teams in large markets to build winning teams.

One issue is that shortening the team control window would reduce the value of prospects. So in addition to smaller market teams being hurt because they can't afford market-rate players, they'd also be hurt by having less of an ability to flip their older prospects for younger prospects and reload. Besides increasing revenue-sharing and instituting a fairly high salary floor, I'm not sure how you solve that problem.

Offline NJ Ave

  • Posts: 3468
Dealing with service time manipulation is an obvious concession for the owners.  I'd be ok if they offered earlier free agency or set it an age like 26 in exchange for a term limit on contracts of 7 years or extensions for 7 years past free agency.   The long contracts aren't good for baseball and are having the effect of moving the stars to irrelevant, mismanaged teams.   

But doesn't this seem like you're solving an artificial problem? The contracts are only onerous because teams refuse to go over the luxury tax thresholds. Frankly, I'm not sure baseball is any more "competitive" with a luxury tax - it seems like it's actually made the big clubs stronger because instead of flipping prospects for short-term gain they're keeping the prospects and becoming juggernauts.

Online HalfSmokes

  • Posts: 20503
But doesn't this seem like you're solving an artificial problem? The contracts are only onerous because teams refuse to go over the luxury tax thresholds. Frankly, I'm not sure baseball is any more "competitive" with a luxury tax - it seems like it's actually made the big clubs stronger because instead of flipping prospects for short-term gain they're keeping the prospects and becoming juggernauts.

Until the Betts trade, I would have bought that argument, but a super rich club trading one of the best young players in the game to avoid the tax seems like a shot at the MLBPA.

I really hope labor wins this round- looking at the amount of team control that a club gets would make an NFL owner blush. 4 or 5 years in the minors before the rule 5 draft, followed by option 3 option years on the 40 man (assuming the player is good enough to be protected, otherwise 6 years until minor league free agency), followed by 3 years at league minimum and then 3 more of one year arbitration deals. A players who does something crazy like playing in college can enter a system at 22, be 26 when they are exposed to the rule 5 draft, and need to be put them on the 40 man which means a team can keep them in the minors for another 3 years, so 29 when those are exhausted and they need to be put on an active roster (at league minimum) and then heading into their first shot at arbitration age 32. 

Offline NJ Ave

  • Posts: 3468
Until the Betts trade, I would have bought that argument, but a super rich club trading one of the best young players in the game to avoid the tax seems like a shot at the MLBPA.

I really hope labor wins this round- looking at the amount of team control that a club gets would make an NFL owner blush. 4 or 5 years in the minors before the rule 5 draft, followed by option 3 option years on the 40 man (assuming the player is good enough to be protected, otherwise 6 years until minor league free agency), followed by 3 years at league minimum and then 3 more of one year arbitration deals. A players who does something crazy like playing in college can enter a system at 22, be 26 when they are exposed to the rule 5 draft, and need to be put them on the 40 man which means a team can keep them in the minors for another 3 years, so 29 when those are exhausted and they need to be put on an active roster (at league minimum) and then heading into their first shot at arbitration age 32. 

Basically Tanner Roark.