The clock ticks off MLB’s first work stop since 1995

Irving, Texas – The clock ticks at 11:59 pm EST towards the expiration of the Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday, with management lockouts that could end sports labor peace in 9,740 days over 26 and a half years. There was an out.

After successfully making four consecutive agreements without stopping, players and owners appeared to be heading into conflict for over two years.

“Lockout seems like a very likely scenario,” said Max Scherzer, a pitcher member of the Union’s executive committee, after signing a deal with the New York Mets.

Unions demanded change following anger over lower average salaries, and middle-class athletes were abandoned in favor of low-wage youth, especially among clubs that abandon rosters for reconstruction. Evicted by a team that concentrates salaries on veterans.

“As players, we think there is a big problem with that,” Scherzer said of the 2016 agreement. “First and foremost, we need to look at the issue of competition and how the team behaves for the specific rules within it, and make adjustments to elicit competition.”


Management saw the team as a significant change in the economic structure of the sport, including free agents and reduced service hours required for payroll arbitration, with the aim of maintaining salary limits gained over the last few decades. Rejected the union’s request for things.

Many clubs have signed new contracts of over $ 1.9 billion, scrambled to add players prior to the expected lockout freeze of signatures. Among them was a major deal between Texas infielder Marcus Semien ($ 175 million) and Scherzer ($ 130 million), two of the eight members of the union’s executive subcommittee. ..

“This is really a kind of fun,” Scherzer said. “I’m a fan of the game. Now I can see everyone signing and seeing the teams competing in this kind of timely way. In the last few offseasons. I saw a freeze, so it’s fresh. ”

Since the 232-day strike, which shortened the 1994 season, many changes have led to the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90 years, delaying the start of the 1995 season. The suspension only ended when a federal judge, Sonia Sotomayor, a future Supreme Court judge, issued an injunction to force owners to restore work rules for expired employment contracts.


Average salaries fell from $ 1.17 million before the strike to $ 1.11 million, but then resumed a relentless rise. It peaked at just under $ 4.1 million in 2017, the first season of the latest CBA, but could drop to about $ 3.7 million when calculated for this year’s final figures.

The money is concentrated at the top of the payroll system. Of the approximately 1,955 players who signed major league contracts at any time during the final month of the regular season, 112 earned more than $ 10 million as of August 31, this year, 40 of which are proportionally distributed. Earned at least $ 20 million including. ..

Revenues of less than $ 1 million and 1,397, of which 1,271 were under $ 600,000 and 332 were under $ 100,000, a group of young players traveling to and from minors.

After Michael Weiner’s death in 2013, former All-Star first baseman Tony Clark understands that players are united and need to unite to achieve a common goal. Said that. Both sides are still in lawsuits for the shortened pandemic 2020 season, sniping how long the season could be, and taking their position in front of a neutral arbitrator.


The union is withholding licenses, just as it would normally enter into negotiations. Cash, US Treasury securities and investments totaled $ 178.5 million on December 31, last year, according to a financial disclosure form submitted to the US Treasury.

“Behind us, there is a fair amount of money that can be allocated to players,” Scherzer said.

Some player agents speculate that management credit lines may already be under pressure following the deprivation of income caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but club finances are union finances. It is more publicly opaque than it is, and it is difficult to ascertain comparative financial strength to withstand long jobs.

Rob Manfred, who took over Bud Selig as Commissioner of Baseball in 2015 after a quarter of a century as an MLB labor negotiator, revealed last month that management prefers off-season lockouts to strikes during the season.

“We’ve been on this path. We locked out in ’89 -’90,” he said. “I don’t think 1994 worked for everyone. Looking at other sports, it’s a pattern that tries to control the timing of labor disputes and minimize the possibility of actual turmoil in the season. I think it’s about that. I’m avoiding damaging the season. “


Scott Boras, who negotiated Scherzer’s contract and made Corey Seager’s $ 325 million contract with Texas shortstop, called on the union to insist on a change to reduce the incentive to lower salaries during reconstruction. ..

“Sometimes the rules of the game require them to do things that are not in the best interests of the game. In order for them to be better competitors next year, they tell them the rules. Must be NS. ”


Blum reported from New York and Hawkins from Irving, Texas.


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The clock ticks off MLB’s first work stop since 1995

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