We enter a big week for Major League Baseball with a lockout likely coming on Thursday and rosters freezing. Can the Atlanta Braves get anything done first?
There is still a lot of work left to do for the Atlanta Braves this offseason, but those plans might get put on hold with MLB and MLBPA unlikely to come to a new agreement before the CBA expires at 11:59 PM ET on Dec. 1.
It’s more a matter of when (which I just told you) than if at this point. The only question is whether or not transactions will be frozen along with the lockout — and most believe that will be the case.
That’s why we’re likely to see a flurry of moves over the next couple of days for free agents who want to go ahead and get a deal done.
Especially with the non-tender deadline being moved up so players who are non-tendered will have an opportunity to sign with a team before the lockout happens.
I’m hopeful we see a big announcement from the Braves before Wednesday night.
Braves Lockout: What’s All the Arguing About?
Both sides have done a really good job of keeping negotiations out of the media, which is smart; although it makes our jobs a little harder on what to write about.
This article on The Athletic (paywall) gives some details as to what the major issues are from the player’s side.
If you want to boil it down to one thing, it’s money — that’s what these negotiations are ultimately always about.
The players want fair compensation for younger players who get paid so little during a time they’re so valuable to their team.
I’m very much against this as it would kill small market teams who can only compete by getting great production from young players who are pre-arb or arbitration-eligible. The Tampa Bay Rays would pretty much cease to exist.
It would also lead to young players leaving the team that developed them far too early. Call me old school, but I love players who come up through an organization and stick around for a long time.
Plus, that’s just not fair to the team who drafted or signed them (investing big money into them then), trained them, “raised” them, and then two years into the big leagues they can’t afford them anymore and have to trade them away to a big market team.
Maybe raise the minimum salary and allow them to enter arbitration sooner, but I wouldn’t want to see a complete overhaul of that system.
The other thing players want that I’m more on board with is less tanking by teams. Players want it so teams will spend more money on players, but I want it because I want to see a league where more teams are trying to win every year.
I would be in favor of a payroll floor, requiring teams to spend at least $100 million in a season.
There were 12 teams last year that finished the season with a total payroll under $100 million — that’s ridiculous, even for small market teams.
Only two of those teams made the postseason — one being the Milwaukee Brewers whose payroll was $99 million, and the other is the Rays who are just special.
There will be other things negotiated like the DH, pace of play, and expanded postseason, but those are minor in the grand scheme of things and just used as bargaining chips by either side to try and get what they want.
Hopefully we’ll get more details after the lockout officially starts, but stay tuned as this may be the most active week of the MLB offseason.