Hold off on your plans to head to Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day. It’s been delayed yet again.
We’ve only briefly discussed MLB’s ongoing lockout of the players’ union on this site as all of the rumors are merely hypotheticals, so any potential impact on the Brewers won’t be known until the deal actually gets signed and we know what’s in it. But these talks are impacting our ability to watch our Brewers.
Spring training was delayed, and spring training games have been cancelled. 40 man roster players are not at Maryvale, although minor league camp has opened and all of the Crew’s minor league players are there. Keep in mind, the minor league season will start on time.
Last week, it was announced that Opening Day, scheduled for March 31st, would be postponed. The two sides could not come to a deal on the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the first week of the season was delayed. This week, hope bubbled up again, and then was crushed.
MLB has announced that a second week of regular season games will be canceled, pushing Brewers Opening Day back to April 14th at the earliest.
The same cycle repeats itself. The two sides have a marathon bargaining session, lasting several hours, rumors leak out of improved offers and how they’re moving closer to a deal, then they break for the night, come back the next day, and both sides are upset and a deal doesn’t happen.
It’s getting tiresome, and the hits keep on coming. With the next two series canceled, the Brewers will miss a road trip against the Chicago Cubs and the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
There does appear to be some legitimate progress on some fronts, however. Both sides are reportedly much closer together now on the Luxury Tax thresholds, league minimum salary, and the new pre-arbitration bonus pool. If those were just the only major issues right now, a deal would probably be done.
But it’s not. Why?
The reason why is MLB’s desire for an International Draft. The draft would replace the current system of signing international free agents which is wrought with corruption and abuse. Change is certainly needed on that front but the players oppose an international draft, especially the Latino players who have made it clear they feel a draft would ‘destroy’ baseball in those international communities.
Surely, there must be a way to clean up the abuses that happen in the current system without destroying the game of baseball in places like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Whatever changes that need to be made, these two sides can’t agree on what they are.
MLB has tied this International Draft to eliminating the qualifying offer and direct draft pick compensation for teams who sign free agents. That’s something the players want. However, they do not seem to feel that is a fair trade off and the players have some legitimate reservations about instituting a draft to solve these problems in the international system.
Last week, the roadblock was the Luxury Tax or the Competitive Balance Tax. This week, it’s the International Draft. When will all these roadblocks be removed? Who knows. Hopefully soon.
All we do know is that we won’t see the Milwaukee Brewers play a regular season baseball game until April 14th at the earliest. That, is sad for everyone.