After the owners and the players failed to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement before the December 1st deadline, MLB officially entered a state of lockout. This means all player-related activities come to a halt, and the players won’t be able to sign new deals, get access to team facilities, or have any communication with the team until the owners and Major League Baseball Players Association find an agreement.
The news was officially confirmed in a statement issued by Commissioner Robert Manfred. According to Manfred, the lockout is “the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” and the league hopes this move will create a sense of urgency for MLB and MLBPA to overcome their differences.
“Today is a difficult day for baseball, but as I have said all year, there is a path to a fair agreement, and we will find it,” Manfred said. “I do not doubt the League, and the Players share a fundamental appreciation for this game and a commitment to its fans. I remain optimistic that both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow, protect, and strengthen the game we love.”
Major League Baseball Players Association also issued a statement, saying that the league’s decision is “specifically calculated to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits.”
This is the first lockout imposed by the league since 1990. It is also the first work stoppage since 1994 when players went on strike, which lasted 232 days and caused the cancelation of the 1994 World Series.
It is unclear how long the lockout will last, but we should expect a long standoff between the two sides, considering how far apart they are. The MLBPA is asking for several major changes regarding the free agency eligibility, tanking, and service time manipulation, something that the league hasn’t been willing to budge on so far. The two parties have a lot of ground to cover in the following weeks and probably months considering their last meeting on Wednesday lasted only seven minutes.
So far, the 2022 MLB season isn’t in danger. Owners and players have roughly three months to work out a new CBA and get things rolling before the Spring Training. However, anything past that would probably see some games being lost.