Major League Baseball could be headed for a lockout, as labor negotiations between the league and its players association are progressing slowly.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the Dec. 1 expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement is not a hard deadline for agreeing to a new CBA.
“I can’t believe there’s a single fan in the world who doesn’t understand that an offseason lockout that moves the process forward is different than a labor dispute that costs games,” Manfred said on Thursday.
- A lockout would put a hold on all MLB transactions.
- The league is not required to initiate a lockout after the CBA expires but may choose to do so.
The MLB free-agent market has been robust thus far, particularly for starting pitchers. Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard — two aces coming off Tommy John surgery — signed one-year deals for $25 million and $21 million, respectively.
As many as 12 free agents are predicted to land contracts worth $100 million or more.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement before the season is set to start in March, MLB could face a shortened or even canceled season.
The league suffered around $3 billion in operational losses in 2020, due to a shortened season played mostly in empty stadiums.