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Charlie Morton, Lucas Giolito, Zack Britton Discuss Lack of Contact amid MLB Lockout

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Business around MLB came to a halt after team owners locked the players out amid negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement. For some players, the extent of the shutdown is less than ideal.

Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito and Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton lamented to Fox Sports' Jake Mintz how they're unable to speak with coaches on their team's staff.

Giolito reflected how he has known White Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz since he was 15.

"Beyond baseball, he is a very, very close friend of mine," he said. "He was at my wedding; I was at his. And I just think it’s strange and unfortunate that because of the lockout, he’s being told he’s not allowed to talk to me or any of the other guys."

Morton explained how he's in a tough spot as he continues his recovery from a fractured fibula.

"Nothing would happen to me. I wouldn’t get in trouble [for reaching out], but I’ve gotten the sense they’re being told to not communicate with us. I’m also pretty sure I was told I’m not allowed to mail my X-ray disk to the Braves. It’s disappointing to me because we’re working toward the same goal. I like communicating with them."

New York Yankees reliever Zack Britton emphasized the benefits of the MLB Players Association developing partnerships outside of MLB so that he can rehab from Tommy John surgery without correspondence with Yankees staffers.

Team owners agreed to a lockout on Dec. 2, almost immediately after the previous CBA expired.   

Beyond just freezing typical offseason business such as free agency, trades and contract negotiations, MLB has gone a step further by distancing itself from players as much as it can. MLB.com alluded to "limitations on the type of content we display," which meant removing individual player photos and online content that focuses largely on history rather than updated developments.

ESPN's Jesse Rogers also explained how any contact between a team and a member of its 40-man roster was forbidden as well.

The blanket ban is understandable to a degree because MLB and the MLBPA have selected their own representatives to handle this matter. Conversations that happen outside of that group could jeopardize negotiations.

Having said that, there seems to be little harm in allowing players and their coaches to engage in a little everyday chitchat to catch up.

The absence of any expectation for when a resolution could come will only exacerbate the isolation Giolito, Morton and others are feeling. The Athletic's Evan Drellich reported that MLB and the MLBPA may not begin to discuss "core economics" until January.

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