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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    MLB Labor Dispute -- 2022

    We should have a thread on what will be a contentious and complex negotiation in Major League Baseball.

    Early this AM (Dec. 2) the owners decided to "lock out" the players.

    Here's one of what will be a thousand stories.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Northwest NC
    Really hope this gets resolved and the season starts on time. I have no idea what will happen or any insight but baseball is already hurting from a lack of interest problem and having a shortened season due to a lockout will only make things worse. Fingers crossed.

    What are the major sticking points as it currently stands?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by DUKIECB View Post
    What are the major sticking points as it currently stands?
    1. Revenues continue to rise, but player salaries aren't (falling just a little bit, in fact)
    2. Owners want to maintain or lower the luxury tax threshold; players want to raise it
    3. Service time: Ownership has increasingly taken to manipulating rosters especially early in the season to "hold the clock" on players' recorded service time, thus delaying their eligibility for seniority-based pay raises
    4. Free agency: Service time is also a determining factor for a player's eligibility for free agency and its often attendant pay raises

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington DC
    These negotiations are always so challenging. Neither side has a true viable alternative to a deal. The players potentially could find another league to play in (ie Japan, Korea, etc) but they would likely only make a fraction of what they make today and there wouldnít be spots for all of them. On the other side, the owners could technically find non-union replacement players to restock their teams but would likely suffer massive declines in viewership and attendance as fans are less inclined to come see unknown players. The challenge is that each side knows that the other side doesnít have any leverage, so it just becomes a massive game of chicken. What has tended to happen historically is that the owners have deeper pockets and are willing to wait the players out and usually the players come to the table and cave. I just hope that they can resolve this all quickly so we can watch baseball again soon.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    I don't follow the particulars, and if the owners are manipulating something to prevent the players from getting something they're entitled to, then that's wrong.

    But with Max Scherzer getting $130 million for 3 years ($43 million per year) which translates to well over a million dollars for every time he takes the mound, the players are not going to be getting a lot of sympathy from the average fan, as all of the issues outlined above have to do with how much money the players are going to get. And they are already making obscene amounts of money. Not just Scherzer of course, but even ordinary players are making more money than most people could ever dream of.

    Rather than fighting over which set of rich guys is going to extract every dollar from the other set of rich guys, most fans would be more interested in baseball figuring out how to make the game watchable again. How to make the game shorter without sacrificing big ticket items like the number of innings that constitute a game, etc. How to move away from the mind numbing impact of so many guys swinging for the fences and all the power pitching, resulting in so few balls being put in play. The huge increase in the number of pitching changes in every game. The way that reliance on advanced stats have squeezed the life -- and the fun -- out of the game in many respects.

    If baseball continues to ignore these issues, and just fights about the money over and over, this game will continue to be moved closer to the margins of the consciousness of sports fans, in particular young people whose attention is elsewhere, and without whom the game will die.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    3. Service time: Ownership has increasingly taken to manipulating rosters especially early in the season to "hold the clock" on players' recorded service time, thus delaying their eligibility for seniority-based pay raises
    One of the smartest moves I have seen the Padres make in the past few decades (I know, not all that many to choose from) was to start Fernando Tatis Jr. on opening day his rookie year (2019). It would have been easy for a team to manipulate the service time of a promising young talent, but they correctly evaluated his potential and were laying the ground work for their second deal with him, two years down the road (which turned out to be a 14-year, $340 million contract extension).

    Of course, 99% of prospects don’t have the promise that Tatis Jr. had. I can see how this would be a very important issue for players.
    Carolina delenda est

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    I don't follow the particulars, and if the owners are manipulating something to prevent the players from getting something they're entitled to, then that's wrong.

    But with Max Scherzer getting $130 million for 3 years ($43 million per year) which translates to well over a million dollars for every time he takes the mound, the players are not going to be getting a lot of sympathy from the average fan, as all of the issues outlined above have to do with how much money the players are going to get. And they are already making obscene amounts of money. Not just Scherzer of course, but even ordinary players are making more money than most people could ever dream of.

    Rather than fighting over which set of rich guys is going to extract every dollar from the other set of rich guys, most fans would be more interested in baseball figuring out how to make the game watchable again. How to make the game shorter without sacrificing big ticket items like the number of innings that constitute a game, etc. How to move away from the mind numbing impact of so many guys swinging for the fences and all the power pitching, resulting in so few balls being put in play. The huge increase in the number of pitching changes in every game. The way that reliance on advanced stats have squeezed the life -- and the fun -- out of the game in many respects.

    If baseball continues to ignore these issues, and just fights about the money over and over, this game will continue to be moved closer to the margins of the consciousness of sports fans, in particular young people whose attention is elsewhere, and without whom the game will die.
    You are right that players are negotiating for more money, but they are not negotiating on behalf of the guys making tens of millions per year. The higher salaries (say $10mm and above per year) distort the landscape. According to this article, the median salary is $1.1 mm and the minimum is a bit above $500k. https://en.as.com/en/2021/10/08/mlb/...87_178363.html

    I agree that most Americans are going to feel sorry for guys making six figures, but from the players perspective it makes absolute sense to fight for a bigger share of the pie. If you can only count on a few years in the league and you make less than $1,000,000, that is not life changing money. Especially when you are hanging out with a bunch of rich people that like to party.
    Carolina delenda est

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    I don't follow the particulars, and if the owners are manipulating something to prevent the players from getting something they're entitled to, then that's wrong.

    But with Max Scherzer getting $130 million for 3 years ($43 million per year) which translates to well over a million dollars for every time he takes the mound, the players are not going to be getting a lot of sympathy from the average fan, as all of the issues outlined above have to do with how much money the players are going to get. And they are already making obscene amounts of money. Not just Scherzer of course, but even ordinary players are making more money than most people could ever dream of.

    Rather than fighting over which set of rich guys is going to extract every dollar from the other set of rich guys, most fans would be more interested in baseball figuring out how to make the game watchable again. How to make the game shorter without sacrificing big ticket items like the number of innings that constitute a game, etc. How to move away from the mind numbing impact of so many guys swinging for the fences and all the power pitching, resulting in so few balls being put in play. The huge increase in the number of pitching changes in every game. The way that reliance on advanced stats have squeezed the life -- and the fun -- out of the game in many respects.

    If baseball continues to ignore these issues, and just fights about the money over and over, this game will continue to be moved closer to the margins of the consciousness of sports fans, in particular young people whose attention is elsewhere, and without whom the game will die.
    I agree with both your major points. I wonder if the big flurry of huge deals in the last week wasnít in part to help the owners prove that they are willing to spend on salaries.

    I agree that improving the product is key. As a kid in the 80s I was a huge baseball stats nerd and my dad was an early adopter of SABR metrics. But now I feel it has gone too far and they are thinking too much rather than playing the game. Iím sure there are those here who might disagree but ratings donít lie. Donít tinker with the core of baseball like mound distance. Just slow down some of the data driven changes. And donít let the batters or pitchers (they are both responsible) take forever between pitches.

    Iím not sure if this is part of the deal but improving conditions for minor leaguers is also important. If you spread a fraction of Scherzerís contract across all the minors it would make a huge difference.

  9. #9
    The league needs a new economic structure that accounts for the reality of todayís SABR-influenced game. Analytics-minded front offices have made clear that they donít want to pay for past performance, meaning fewer large deals for vets. Thatís all well and good, but the current structure allows them to control the talent at less than FMV during their primes. So they donít pay FMV for current performance, and then wonít pay for past performance. Canít have it both ways.

    Focusing on the Scherzers of the world is IMO a mistake. Max is going to get paid an obscene amount of money regardless of the CBA. The current structure is set up in a way that the owners are able to manipulate IMO unfairly - this might end up being a bad take but Iím confident that all parties recognize that AND are committed to getting a new CBA done without losing games.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Forest Hills, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    1. Revenues continue to rise, but player salaries aren't (falling just a little bit, in fact)
    2. Owners want to maintain or lower the luxury tax threshold; players want to raise it
    3. Service time: Ownership has increasingly taken to manipulating rosters especially early in the season to "hold the clock" on players' recorded service time, thus delaying their eligibility for seniority-based pay raises
    4. Free agency: Service time is also a determining factor for a player's eligibility for free agency and its often attendant pay raises
    Except for SSs it seems, this year.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    I don't follow the particulars, and if the owners are manipulating something to prevent the players from getting something they're entitled to, then that's wrong.

    But with Max Scherzer getting $130 million for 3 years ($43 million per year) which translates to well over a million dollars for every time he takes the mound, the players are not going to be getting a lot of sympathy from the average fan, as all of the issues outlined above have to do with how much money the players are going to get. And they are already making obscene amounts of money. Not just Scherzer of course, but even ordinary players are making more money than most people could ever dream of.

    Rather than fighting over which set of rich guys is going to extract every dollar from the other set of rich guys, most fans would be more interested in baseball figuring out how to make the game watchable again. How to make the game shorter without sacrificing big ticket items like the number of innings that constitute a game, etc. How to move away from the mind numbing impact of so many guys swinging for the fences and all the power pitching, resulting in so few balls being put in play. The huge increase in the number of pitching changes in every game. The way that reliance on advanced stats have squeezed the life -- and the fun -- out of the game in many respects.

    If baseball continues to ignore these issues, and just fights about the money over and over, this game will continue to be moved closer to the margins of the consciousness of sports fans, in particular young people whose attention is elsewhere, and without whom the game will die.
    I agree with almost everything here, except that I disagree that the Scherzer contract is evidence that the players are making too much money. I could argue that the money is from market demand, but the owners are the ones getting a sweetheart deal. When was the last time a professional sports team went bankrupt? Heck, when was the last time a professional sports team was sold for anything other than a huge rate of return relative to the prior sale? I get that there is scarcity value in buying sports teams, and that the owners bear the majority of the risks, but in my opinion, the incredible financial value of sports franchises is in part due to the fact that they are getting a very good value on their labor costs (ie player salaries).

  12. #12
    In a battle between millionaires and billionaires, I know who Iím betting on.

    That said, a system under which the Mets paid more in 2021 to Bobby Bonilla than they did to Pete Alonso is a system in serious need of reform.

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