Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has had it. For the most part he’s been quite critical of the owners in the negotiations this winter. But overnight he laid blame on both sides after what went down on Tuesday.

Yet, here we are, the parties forever trapped in their bubbles, seemingly unable to recognize they’re about to drive the game to the abyss. I will repeat, one last time: Not a single game should be lost, especially not over matters that initially appeared to be secondary concerns. And while the owners are mostly to blame for initiating the lockout and pulling one stunt after another in negotiations, the union had a chance Wednesday to accelerate the endgame. Instead, it chose to continue the fight.

The fight this week seems to be around an international draft. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I wrote about many of the reasons that the debate for or against it are a bit more complicated than they may seem to be on the surface.

Major League Baseball was willing to give up draft pick compensation related to qualifying offers in exchange for instituting an international draft. There was a little back-and-forth on that before Major League Baseball decided this:

What those three options were are laid out by Hannah Keyser of Yahoo! sports:

The players came back to the owners with an offer on that, which the owners turned down. The offer, however, was one that ownership offered but was denied because it came after “the deadline”.

At this point all of this is getting to the point of stupidity. The owners declined an offer that they initially made earlier in the day because the players included it in a proposal after a made up “deadline”. Rob Manfred then announced that two more series would be cancelled. Of course, as I continue to note – the owners can’t actually decide on their own to cancel games. The length of the season must be negotiated and agreed upon. Owners are only capable of postponing games. With that said, if there’s going to be a full 162-game season, time is running out to get a deal in place and get started.

Despite the announcement of more games being “cancelled”, the players and the owners representatives continued talking on Tuesday night after that announcement according to the Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman.

29 Responses

  1. Klugo

    162 is too many anyways.
    Baseball will always be important to fans. No one will be able to do anything about that, ever. Driving “the game to the abyss” is hyperbole.

    • greenmtred

      It may be hyperbole, but when I compare baseball’s position now (relative to other sports) to its position when I was a kid, it makes me wonder. It isn’t attracting young fans, evidently, and that’s probably not related to the lockout. But that means that it’s dependent upon older fans, and older fans may be getting sick of the drama if not the game itself.

      • Greenfield Red

        The percentage of young people who like baseball is way down from 30 or 40 years ago. If the trend doesn’t change, it will become a novelty. They need parents and grandparents to introduce youngsters to the game. When we become less interested, we don’t do it.

        I’m not suggesting this goes the way of the Pro Bowler’s Tour in my lifetime, but 100 years from now, I don’t think many people will care about baseball.

        Part of it is the natural course of life with technology speeding everything up and so many more things available. But, part of it is the continued disrespect for the game and its fans displayed be the owners and the players.

        You can only beat me over the head so many times with work stoppages, unending commercials, steroids, homerun or bust, and political intrusions (Cleveland Guardians.. give me a break), before I just give up.

  2. CFD3000

    How is this suddenly a critical issue? And how is it even part of the CBA? If this was a deal breaker question for the Owners it should have been part of the key terms presented all along, not elevated at the eleventh hour to a take it or leave it level. Bush league. On the other hand, set aside the complexities of how international okayers get signed, drafted, or pulled randomly from our studio audience – why is how teams acquire amateur international players to join their organizations (and eventually, maybe, the MLBPA) even part of this? It’s like suddenly they’re blocked over broadcast rights for the Little League World Series. I get why the players care about an international draft, or the current system or other alternatives, but why do they even get a say? This should not be what’s holding up baseball in 2022. Embarrassing. #Play162

    • BK

      Labor negotiations have elements that must be negotiated (e.g., wages, work conditions), elements that can be included subject to agreement by both parties, and elements that can’t be included (things that would violate standing laws).

      The international draft falls in that middle tier. Another example is revenue sharing (this refers to money being transferred between owners). As I understand it, this was a trade the Owners gave for getting CBT thresholds rather than their preferred salary cap back in 1995. From my reading, once the elements are included in a CBA, both sides would have to agree to remove them.

  3. old-school

    Its March 10. I don’t see how 162 can be played.
    Even if players showed up Monday 14th, that’s still April 11 at the earliest for OD and 10 games to make up?

    Where do u make those games up?

    Extend the season into October? Baseball is mostly irrelevant after Labor Day except for the pennant races. Reds going to be competing for eyeballs with UK/UC/OSU football for more Saturdays and Bengals for more Sundays?

    How ’bout 34 games in August with 3 double headers? That’s safe for the players. It already takes Jeff Hoffman 82 pitches to throw 3 and 1/3 innings and Bell never uses a pitcher for more than an inning out of the bullpen. May need to get Rubber arm Scott Sullivan out of retirement. If 2021 saw record soft tissue injuries and pitching staff shuttles to and from the DL and Louisville, what will 162 games in a compressed season do?

  4. Steve D

    Doug,
    If are they discussing getting rid of draft compensation for this June 2022 draft? Or would it start in 2023? Would suck for the reds because they are set to get a first round pick when Nick C ultimately signs with someone. For the Reds sake I’m hoping it starts in 2023

  5. The Duke

    Why is the MLBPA so dead set against an International Draft, yet still don’t give two craps about the minor league players?

    • Doug Gray

      The MLBPA is actually allowed to have a say on the international draft. Legally, unless the owners agree to discuss minor leaguers, the players union can’t actually do much to change what’s going on in the minors.

  6. LDS

    Because the international signings present a market that the owners can’t control. A draft gives the owners a finger on the scale. It’s really owner vs. owner, IMO. My guess is that it is a net detriment to the international player. I’ve not looked at the history but I’d that many international signees crash and burn. However, the money received likely had a net positive effect on their lives regardless of whether they make it to the league. Oh well, who needs baseball anyway.

  7. Bred

    If the owners field scab teams, would they still collect the TV revenue, would season ticket holders be locked in to their commitment, and would ESPN and all news coverage cease? Can owners hold out longer than players if TV, and some money comes in? Is the owners’ unity strong enough to break the MLPA? I don’t know any of the answers to my questions, but stronger more important unions have been weakened or destroyed.

  8. MBS

    This is so sad, I might be losing baseball soon. I lost UK basketball when Calipari came to UK. It got old watching new players every year, just wasn’t enjoyable to me. I lost the Bengals when Brown let Zimmer go to keep Lewis around. Now baseball is my only sports outlet. The Reds are my 1st and most rabid fandom, but if these selfish owners and players can’t figure this out, i might be out. I really tried to get into FCC, but I only enjoy going to the games, watching it on tv was not much fun.

  9. Redsman

    “Not a single game should be lost.”
    Well…no duh! The simple fact is however, the two sides are more akin to small children than full grown men! I say a pox on both their houses! They should be ashamed of these childish actions, if the above reports are factual. The ownership may or may not have the authority to cancel the early season games. Perhaps, just perhaps, these games could be rescheduled. But as someone else already pointed out, the calendar is being squeezed to a breaking point!

    The loyalty and love for a timeless game is being drug through the mud and sullied by these crass behaviors! You cannot continue indefinitely alienating the targets of the product! The largest portion of these ‘targets’ are perishable and getting older by the day!

    I LOVE BASEBALL, but I am growing WAY beyond the point of impatient with these adulterers of our Grand game. Some of the things they have argued about during these negotiations are stupid. They are arguing over the size of the bags!?! Come onnnn! These negotiations should never have been held up for weeks and weeks with no conversations/negotiations! That is an inherent challenge of men who are billionaires running businesses that hold their main interests, while the fans are slowly roasting on a spit, awaiting some small tidbit or scrap of information!

    I don’t have the solution, but other ‘professional’ sports franchises have resolved the gist of the problem which comes down to, you guessed it…MONEY!!!

    Get it done, NOW! Play a season of 144 or something similar. Not just this year, but every year! Decide on a fair percentage of profits for players and negotiate that. All these trivial matters will fade into the distance once that is accomplished. Maybe those of us who truly love the game, rather than it simply being our vocation, will no longer be burdened with early season snowstorms, 7 inning Doubleheader’s or worse yet…two games on one day paying twice. Not exactly a true doubleheader, just a stinking money grab.

    This crap is killing all of us who truly love our pastime. Maybe I need to get behind local college teams etc. These Titans of industry and their pampered employees are the number one problem. Not pitch clocks, not shifts, not oversized bags, nor 3 outcome at bats, welllllwait a minute. That last one is a problem. But we all get the point. Unadulterated greeeed, jealousy, envy, inflated egos…these are the things these grown men need to get past. I am not so sure they really will.

  10. BK

    As I said last night, looking past all of the drama … I think the two sides are very close and can’t imagine any of the remaining issues are redlines for either side. I think we’ll have an agreement today. Sounds like they have figured out a way forward on the international draft/draft pick compensation issue.

    That said, the calendar is working against them getting to play a full season which will open new points of contention: service time, full/partial pay, reimbursements to RSNs … the types of issues that will be packed full of drama and theater and all self-induced.

    • MBS

      Greed is working against them, that’s it. Neither side is free from blame, the fans don’t matter, it’s not like they will do something about it. Fan strikes will be coming soon.

  11. Mark Moore

    If I don’t have the Reds for an extended time, I’m pretty much without pro sports. I don’t watch the NBA or NHL. I barely watched any NFL except for the Bengals little run at the very end. I’ve said before I’ll turn to MiLB ball, but I’m not sure if that means I’ll buy the package where I can watch or not.

    This is all pretty disappointing to feel like progress was happening and then get the rug pulled out once again.

  12. LDS

    The Reds really need that CBA agreed to today. They still have a bunch of payroll to dump.

  13. doofus

    I knew MLB, Owners, and MLBPA would get caught up in a circular firing squad.

  14. TR

    WE GOT A DEAL!!!! Boras tried to use his influence to nuke it, but player reps/committee voted 26-12 to accept offer. Here’s hoping til April 5 opening day or earlier.

    • TR

      Well maybe April 7 which would be in Atlanta, so not a good outcome for Reds. Hope they move it back, but likely the 7th is word.

  15. Krozley

    Glad the player reps overrode the stupidity of the 8 man players executive board, who combined will earn over $1.5 billion in their careers, and agreed the owners made enough concessions to play ball. Let the madness begin!

    • TR#1

      Yeah. How does Boras rep 5 of the 8 of Executive Board. If i’m players I look at diversifying that in future.

  16. old-school

    great news. Can now actually argue about Bell’s bullpen decisions and outfielders and how slow this team is and lineup construction. Ahhhhhhh.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      When I saw the news, my mind immediately churned on, maybe the front office has rethought things during the past few months and maybe they WILL go out and bring back Castellanos and get veteran players to make this team competitive.

      And then, maybe not. 😉

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Absolutely. We’re all happy for him.