Owners in Major League Baseball have said if the new collective bargaining agreement cannot be reached between the MLB Player’s Association and the league they would consider putting a player lockout into place.
The current CBA will expire December 1 and both sides are currently at an impasse on a number of items.
The recent release by the owners of possibly instituting a lockout is the first report suggesting a work stoppage could be made.
There is not an imminent threat to baseball games, as Spring Training does not even begin until the middle of February and the regular season in another four months away.
It has been long assumed that owners and the player’s union would be able to come to an agreement on any of their differences, particularly given the game has seen a great deal of revenue growth of late, but talks dragged on for a longer period than was expected.
When considering instituting a lockout, owners would threaten interfering with the conduct of the business during the offseason, much of which is not completed.
Some suggested that if an agreement were not reached before the deadline that things would continue as is which is a possibility.
However, if a deal is not reached and owners decide on taking a hardline, it could in freezing on any transaction just prior to the winter meetings.
The two sides are jockeying to gain an advantage on the issues that remain and each is familiar with the positions of the others.
The matters still not resolved are notable ones. According to sources, the owners have offered to eliminate the tying of free agent to compensation at draft, but requested in exchange an international draft.
The player’s union, it appears, supports the idea a draft would become too onerous.
A disagreement also exists with relation to competitive-balance tax as well as the Joint Drug Agreement. It seems the matter of dividing dollars as well as figuring out how to ensure teams put subsidies into their roster at the major league level.
Both agreed there is a need to add more force to the Drug Agreement but players want to be compensated in exchange.
Some believe the agreement could be reached before the existing CBA expires. However, the players as well as owners may take tough stances and that could result in a work stoppage.