If Not With Players, Can MLB Teams Negotiate With Each Other During The Lockout?

Published 01/03/2022, 10:30 AM EST
FILE – In this Feb. 17, 2017, file photo, a baseball is shown on the grass at the Cincinnati Reds baseball spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Major League Baseball rejected the players’ offer for a 114-game regular season in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, June 3, 2020, because no statements were authorized. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FIle)


The MLB is currently undergoing a lockout. The lockout was initiated by League Commissioner Rob Manfred as a means to hasten negotiations between parties. The issue for discussion is the players’ Collective Bargaining Agreement after it’s expiry early last December. However, as the lockout edges on, the questions on baseball fans’ minds rage on too.

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This is the first time that the MLB has been in lockout in 26 years. The first since the 1994- 1995 season. The collective bargaining agreement expired on December 1st at 11:59 PM and the lockout was officially commenced by MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred, on December 2nd at 12:01.

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Permitted negotiations during the Lockout

But fans have been left in the lurch. What is a lockout? What actions are permitted while it is ongoing?

At the risk of oversimplification of the situation. None of the teams are allowed to talk or negotiate with any of the players and vice versa.

Recently however, questions came up to go around these regulations from fans clamoring for off-season action. If the players aren’t allowed to talk to teams and teams aren’t allowed to talk to players, can teams talk to other teams?

“That way, when the lockout ends, all they need are physicals.”

The fan pointed out that these could service teams well. Having a more definite roster structure heading into spring training is certainly desirable.

The Athletic reported, that while that while the precondition exists, it is unlikely that every club executive from every team is likely to follow suit. These talk will likely be behind closed doors though and kept confidential.

That is of course until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place and negotiations can resume above board again.

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Why the lockout?

The players unions’ expectations are to earn them more of the revenue generated by the MLB juggernaut. While most owners seem content with the status quo of operations and the revenue distribution. The two sides have made various suggestions to bridge the gap between them.

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Some have put forth that rules of the league be more effectively codified. This could serve well to discourage teams from holding back prospects in the minor leagues. Teams usually undertake these measures to delay their service time for the main franchise limiting player growth.
The player’s union would also like to see teams encouraged to spend money and compete for the playoffs rather than “tank” in a bid for higher draft picks. The players would prefer the injection of some new ideas like an NBA style draft lottery.
On the other side, the owners have constantly maintained that they want a resolution to this as quick as possible. They have even put forth the proposal for expanded playoffs and the classification of a universal designated hitter with a view to win over the players.
While the lockout continues, the best that MLB fans can hope for is that it ends as soon as possible. The off-season resuming as soon as possible is likely the most profitable way to carry forward the MLB and any loss of play could be damaging.

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Aditya Deshingkar

162 articles

Aditya Deshingkar is a US Sports writer at EssentiallySports. An aspiring lawyer, Aditya is a final year student of the law program at GLC. Notably, as an avid sports lover, he shares a keen interest in NBA, MLB, and Formula 1.

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