It is Wednesday, March 9, 2022.
We are still on lockout watch.
I have to say...this whole thing is wearing on me. I thought nothing would happen in December or early January, there’d be hostilities in mid-January, and then a deal would be done by Groundhog Day.
When that came and went, I said, well, it will be done by the time spring training is supposed to open.
Then I said, well, it will be done before the February 28 deadline for games to be canceled.
I keep being wrong. And everything keeps being in limbo.
I don’t want to write about this. I want to write about baseball. Except, really, I don’t want to write about baseball right now either, because the lockout is sucking all the air out of anything baseball related.
There’s also a war going on which is, I think, impacting my desire and ability to focus on baseball stuff when there is no real baseball stuff going on, as well.
Anyway. The hurdle now is an international draft. The league wants one. The players don’t. It was a big issue in the last negotiations, and the players fought against it and won, but the victory was Pyrrhic in nature, as the things they conceded on to not agree to an international draft were probably bigger deals than an international draft would be.
The league says that there are three options that the union needs to choose from regarding an international draft:
1 — Agree to an international draft, and no more draft pick compensation for free agents
2 — No international draft, and continuing draft pick compensation for free agents
3 — No draft pick compensation for free agents, and the union weighs whether or not they will agree to an international draft. If there is no agreement on an international draft by November 15, 2022, then the owners can re-open the CBA after 2024.
The owners say absent committing to one of those three options, there is no point in continuing to negotiate.
To me, #3 seems like a no-brainer for the players. No more draft pick compensation, you kick the can down on the road on an international draft, and worst case scenario, the CBA may be re-opened after 2024, when you’re probably going to be wanting to ask for a higher CBT and more arb bonus pool money anyway.
And likely between now and then there will be some more things that will come up that you can use the international draft as a negotiating point on.
In any case, the league doesn’t want an international draft for the next couple of years anyway, since most of the top players from the next two classes already have agreements in place with teams, and implementing a draft immediately would result in some rather awkward and uncomfortable problems for the league.
Everything else appears to be getting fairly close.
When there is more, we will let you know.