Major League Baseball has locked out the players as the Collective Bargaining Agreement has expired. What does this mean and how does this impact the Milwaukee Brewers?
Years of growing frustration from the players’ union against the team owners has brought an end to nearly three decades of labor peace. This is the first time labor strife has caused MLB to come to a complete halt since the strike of 1994.
The team owners have several sticking points and things they want while the players also have priorities they want addressed in this next CBA. Right now, both sides are too far apart to come to a deal, and a lockout has commenced.
What happens during an MLB lockout?
Trades, free agent signings, contract extensions, everything comes to a halt. A transaction freeze has been instituted, and after the rush of signings and moves in recent days ahead of the lockout, it will now be complete silence.
Until a deal is reached, which could be months from now.
Players also aren’t able to use team facilities. This includes rehabbing players, who will lose their access to the team’s doctors and athletic trainers.
Remember the last few years when free agency was agonizingly slow? It’s going to be like that, except with no moves allowed whatsoever and both the players union and MLB will be exchanging proposals on how to change the game.
How does the MLB lockout impact the Milwaukee Brewers?
The points above that apply overall from this lockout will apply to the Brewers. The Crew’s players will not be able to work out at the team’s facilities in Milwaukee or Phoenix. They can’t work with the Brewers athletic training staff. Contact with coaches and executives are pretty much stopped.
David Stearns will not be able to make a trade or sign a free agent to the 40 man roster and how the roster is currently constructed is how it will remain through the rest of this lockout.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is on MLB’s powerful labor-policy committee and is going to be involved in the negotiations with the MLBPA and trying to make a deal happen. Attanasio is obviously going to keep the interests of the Milwaukee Brewers at heart in his role. Being on that committee may or may not help limit any negative effects a new CBA could have on Milwaukee if Attanasio strongly objects to something, but this lockout is about more than just the Brewers.
Entering into a lockout now doesn’t have any major immediate impact on the Brewers. No games are scheduled for months and they’re at no risk of losing any revenue as of right now. They can still sell merchandise at the team store and sell tickets as usual.
All that time to work with can also drag out this lockout longer. Things probably won’t start to move until both sides are at risk of losing money, which won’t happen until we get closer to spring training.
So the lockout itself doesn’t have any bigger impact on the Brewers than it does on any other team right now. How the Brewers will truly be impacted will be dependent on what changes are actually made in the next CBA when it finally is agreed to.
Both sides have made offers with major changes to the game of baseball as we’ve known it. The entire financial structure and pay structure of the league could change. There could be a salary floor, there could be changes to the draft order, changes to division alignment, expanded playoffs, the DH added to the NL, a raise in the minimum salary, earlier free agency for younger players, etc. Any number of those changes or others could be made, or they could not. And each change would impact the Brewers in a different way.
Some changes could make things better for the Brewers, some could make it more difficult for them. We won’t truly know until the final deal is agreed to.
It’s unfortunate things have come to this point, but the players have some legitimate reasons to be upset with the league and some changes are long overdue. How they’ll make them, we don’t know yet.
It’s important to know that it’s not the time to panic. Games are not at risk of being lost right now and won’t be for a while. The only thing that changes for the fans right now is that signings and trades will come to a full stop. Once the CBA is agreed to, they’ll kick right back up again. As long as they’re under contract before Opening Day, it doesn’t really matter when they sign.
Don’t panic, don’t be stressed. These two sides have a lot of money at play and won’t want to risk losing any of it or let this cancel any potential chances for revenue. Something is likely to be agreed to before either side loses any money.
Let’s just hope that the deal both sides eventually agree to will help move the game in a positive, healthy direction and can improve labor relations going forward between these two sides.