MLB, MLBPA Reportedly Met Thursday for 1st Time Since Lockout over CBA Negotiations

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2021

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks during a news conference in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Owners locked out players at 12:01 a.m. Thursday following the expiration of the sport's five-year collective bargaining agreement. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP Photo/LM Otero

For the first time since the start of the Major League Baseball lockout on Dec. 1, the league and MLB Players Association reportedly met Thursday.

According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, the two sides discussed "non-core economic issues" including "scheduling, grievance procedures, special events, and/or the drug and domestic violence policies."

Rogers added that negotiations related to the major sticking points between the sides will not occur until after the start of the new year.

Among the main issues that need to be worked out between the MLB and MLBPA are revenue sharing, arbitration and how many years of service players must accrue before becoming free agents.

After the previous collective bargaining agreement expired on Dec. 1, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the situation with the media and explained the rationale behind a lockout.

Manfred suggested that the primary motivation behind a lockout was avoiding an in-season work stoppage, saying: "If you play without an agreement you're vulnerable to a strike at any point in time."

That was in reference to the 1994 MLB season, which resulted in a midseason strike and no World Series being played.

Manfred also acknowledged that a lockout is "bad for business," but expressed optimism regarding a new CBA getting done before the 2022 season, saying: "I don't feel frustrated. I'm disappointed we didn't get to an agreement. I'm optimistic we are going to get a deal."

While strikes have resulted in missed games three times throughout MLB history, a lockout has never led to games getting canceled.

In hopes of similar results this time around, the league is in a holding pattern, which has made for a unique situation.

Just before the lockout began, there was a flurry of major free-agent signings such as Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to the Texas Rangers, Javier Baez to the Detroit Tigers, Kevin Gausman to the Toronto Blue Jays, Robbie Ray to the Seattle Mariners and both Max Scherzer and Starling Marte to the New York Mets.

Because the lockout interrupted free agency, big names such as first baseman Freddie Freeman, third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstops Carlos Correa and Trevor Story and pitchers Carlos Rodon and Clayton Kershaw remain unsigned.

With no immediate end in sight to the lockout, it could be some time before those players find new homes.