Why MLB seems headed for a lockout and how that will create a frenzy among free agents

CARLSBAD, California – Here in paradise, a place where the sun shines every available hour, a blanket of darkness was omnipresent this week. Almost all substantive conversations at Major League Baseball managers meetings concerned, or, very often, focused on the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement on December 1, which would be followed by a player lockout and a indefinite closure of the sport. Even if optimism persists in most corners that no one would be short-sighted enough for games to be lost in the first work stoppage in more than a quarter century, the prospect of a bleak winter nonetheless colored the odds. procedures and is already shaping baseball in unexpected ways and ways.

While the meetings produced two signatures worth a combined $ 10.5 million and zero trades, the villas and suites at the Omni La Costa complex were buzzing with activity, the kind of conversations typically reserved for December winter meetings, which were dealt with. as if these were not going to happen. The looming threat of a lockout, seen by most as inevitable at this point, is creating a dynamic that sustained the talks throughout the week. Words were spoken, ideas were exchanged, the basis for agreements was laid. And everyone looked at everyone else thinking the same thing, although no one dared to say it out loud.

How much of this is real and how much is a pose?

In the coming days, weeks, months, the answers of what was genuine in the managers’ meetings will be revealed. The most interesting twist, without a doubt, occurred on the side of free agency. Basically, the teams suggested that players have a choice: sign before the lockout or wait until February, when almost everyone expects the labor discord to end, and have fun navigating the transfer and trade frenzy that will ensue. The agents of some of the highest-profile free agents this winter, meanwhile, reversed the stance: If you want a player, step up financially, because the February stampede will be so different, so unfamiliar, it’s worth paying for. more to be sure now than having to overpay or be left empty-handed on the eve of the season.


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Why MLB seems headed for a lockout and how that will create a frenzy among free agents