Since we don’t know when we’re going to die, there’s no point in putting money away for old age.
That’s lousy financial advice.
It’s also analogous to Wes’s reasoning for how the Reds should handle Nick Senzel’s service time. It’s unsound logic for the Reds, but it does assure Wes a membership in the Instant Gratification Generation.
All half-joking aside, yes, as Wes points out, there is a pile of uncertainty ahead in baseball’s labor relations. Billionaire owners and millionaire players may figure out a way to spoil 15 years of labor peace and blow the run-up to the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. On the other hand, maybe talk about inevitability of a strike is savvy posturing by players.
That said there is little doubt that the players union will push for significant changes in the way players are paid. Making it through service time to free agency is no longer the $100 million ticket it used to be. As a result, the MLBPA will demand a higher percentage of baseball’s cash bonanza end up in its members’ bank accounts.
Absent a successful lawsuit alleging collusion, likely proposals are shortening service time requirements from six to five years and significantly raising league-minimum salaries.
Neither would change how the Reds should approach Nick Senzel’s service time.
Wes proposes several thoughtful ideas for fixing service time rules, happily none of which amount to unilateral disarmament by the Reds. But even if the MLBPA does target the two-week issue at the heart of Senzel Spectacle, there’s a vanishingly small chance the fix would be applied retroactively.
Here’s why. Imagine what retroactive application of that rule would mean. Teams would lose superstar players a year earlier than planned. The next CBA goes into effect in the 2022 season. Retroactive application could cause a team to lose player(s) for the 2022 season.
Teams will never agree to that. The A in CBA stands for Agreement. It’s hard to imagine owners accepting that rule to begin with, let alone applied with such sudden devastating effect.
[I had Wes review this post before it published. He suggested a middle ground for retroactivity, where both sides agree to a cutoff point so players nearer to free agency wouldn’t be affected. Such a concept might make compromise and a bit of retroactivity more likely. By that time, Senzel would be well into his team control years and it wouldn’t be obvious which side of the cutoff he would fall.]
Retroactivity is ultimately a subject for negotiation, so it’s possible. But to win that ask, the two-week fix would have to be one of, if not the highest, priority demands for the players.
And that won’t be the case. Players have voiced loud frustration about not getting paid. But it hasn’t been focused on the two-week service time manipulation. In part, that’s because few players fall into that category.
Justin Verlander’s troubled tweet mentioned Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, not Nick Senzel. As Wes rightly notes, a few players, like Whit Merrifield, have complained about service time. But even those grumblings concern the “cheaper if we wait” delay. That’s about Super Two delays, not the issue for the Senzel case.
For Wes’s scenario of uncertainty to come into play: (1) the players union would have to be laser-like focused on the two-week service time manipulation, and (2) assuming they could get owners to agree on that, they would have to push for the reforms to be applied retroactively.
Given how few players are actually affected by the two-week delay, it’s hard to imagine either of those things happening. Service time hijinks will be on the list of MLBPA grievances, but unlikely at the top. The players will have higher priority items when it comes to getting free agents paid. A contract extension is more likely to make Senzel’s service time moot than retroactive CBA changes in 2022.
Scott Schebler and Matt Kemp are no Mike Olt, the Cubs third baseman who was little more than a placeholder for Kris Bryant in 2015. If you want to talk about uncertainty, how about the pure speculation that a 23-year-old Nick Senzel, who has played 44 games at the AAA level (none as a centerfielder) will be a better major league player on March 28 than Schebler or Kemp.
Additional pieces from Redleg Nation on how the Cincinnati Reds and Nick Senzel situation could/should play out in 2019 with regards to service time:
- You can’t predict baseball but you can start Nick Senzel on Reds Opening Day – Wes Jenkins, 2/19/19
- Nick Senzel should start on Opening Day – Jason Linden, 2/15/19
- The Reds shouldn’t blow the timing of Nick Senzel’s debut – Steve Mancuso, 2/14/19