After almost three months, the MLB lockout doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon, as the deadline for reaching an agreement without canceling any games is on February 28. Here’s the latest news on the lockout and other news in MLB:
Deal Hopeful But Not Likely Before Deadline
Officials from Major League Baseball think that an agreement between the MLBPA and MLB owners will not be reached before the February 28 deadline, which could mean the league will have to start canceling regular-season games. Both teams left the bargaining table unhappy last Saturday, and some reports say the players were so upset that they considered walking away from the negotiations.
The two sides met on Sunday until early in the evening and agreed to continue talks on Monday. One MLB official said discussions for the day were productive. However, after talks ended for the day, the player’s union stated that nothing had yet been settled and that an agreement was not yet close.
The owners do have the option to end the lockout and permit spring training to begin right away as the two sides continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. However, the owners have given no indication they are willing to do that as it stands right now.
What Do Both Sides Want?
The main issue for the owners is that they want to expand the MLB playoffs, which would be a major benefit to the teams, who receive 100% of the TV revenue. The players receive a portion of the gate during the postseason, which is much smaller than the TV revenue.
In exchange, the owners are offering to reduce the number of regular-season games to 154 and implement a DH in both leagues. The players want both of these things, but it’s a small tradeoff when looking at the additional revenue the owners would make by expanding the playoffs.
The player’s union is concerned that if the playoffs are expanded, it will cause teams to spend less money on player salaries and still have a good chance of making the postseason while benefitting from the extra TV revenue. They also want free agency extended to anyone who is either at least 29.5 years old with at least five years of service in the league or players with a total of six years of service, whichever comes first. The owners want to keep the current system in place.
Red Sox Prospect Released After Series of Tweets
In other news, Red Sox minor leaguer Brett Netzer was released from the team after a surprising series of recent tweets that were both racist and homophobic. When answering someone who asked if he was racist, he replied saying, “I am a racist. I do sometimes make assumptions based on a person’s race/ethnicity/culture. Glad that is out of the way.” The tweets that followed ensured that Netzer would never get another job anywhere in baseball.
He later asked to be released by the Red Sox, which they immediately did, but didn’t stop his attacks. He then went on to send a series of racist, anti-Christian, and homophobic tweets. The loss of Netzer won’t hurt the team at all, as he never reached higher than Double-A in his baseball career. He was a third-round pick by the organization in 2017 and hasn’t played since 2019, due in part to the minor league season being canceled in 2020.