At 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the current MLB collective bargaining agreement expires, leaving the Red Sox and every other team in a lockout with what most experts believe.
ESPN’s MLB insider Jeff Passon put together a rundown that outlines key areas of conflict as well as next week’s schedule, players to watch, and more. There are five things Red Sox fans in particular should keep an eye on.
The lockdown feels like an inevitability at this point.
This isn’t Red Sox-specific, but it seems important to note. On a number of key issues including extended playoffs, minimum wages, competitive balance picks, earlier payouts for young stars, competitive balance tax (known as luxury tax) and service-time manipulation (except probabilities) by both sides. Looking forward to an argument. in the minor leagues when they are clearly drawn to the majors to avoid earning a full year of serving their rookie season).
Despite some small amount of progress on both sides, per passan, the two sides remain very far apart.
“A deal will come together when the sides reduce the realistic among all the dreams which slows down all bargaining sessions,” Pason wrote. “Hopefully this week defines those lines more clearly, so that even when the lockdown is in place, the deal’s path is more easily noticed.”
What will the next 48 hours look like in Free Agency?
Many top-tier free agents pulled out of the market on Sunday and Monday as players looked to lock in money before the lockdown began. Max Scherzer signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets. Robbie Ray signed a five-year, $115 million contract with the Mariners. Corey Seeger agreed to a monstrous 10-year deal with the Rangers worth $325 million.
But several top-tier players are still out there, including a couple who are rumored to have tied the Red Sox. Jon Heyman revealed over the weekend that the Red Sox are one of three teams that have serious hopes of adding Javier Baez, and he allegedly Can sign before the lockdown begins.
However, Carlos Correa – who is loosely linked to the Red Sox and considered by many a top target in the free-agent class – is not expected to sign before the CBA ends. If the Red Sox wants to stay in Korea, they may have to wait (and participate in a feeding frenzy of signings after the lockdown ends).
Rafael Devers is not expected to sign his extension before the CBA.
The Red Sox have reportedly made “zero” progress in talks with Davers, but that seems to be to be expected: extensions are usually signed at training camp rather than offseason.
Still, those conversations — which will already be interesting, given the Red Sox’s history of losing home talent — could become even more fascinating in light of a new CBA (whenever it happens).
Red Sox fans should still be able to see Tristan Cass in time.
Presumably, both sides will kick things into gear if they start to run the risk of missing games. If Doomsday happens, however, the Worcester Red Sox (and Portland Sea Dogs etc.) will all be allowed to continue as per schedule, as the minor league players are not part of the union. However, they will not be allowed to bring back Jaren Duran, who was part of the 40-man roster last season. Getting a chance to see Casas, Nick York and Marcelo Meyer can be a small consolation prize.
An interesting side note: There has been some talk about forming minor league players’ unions. Minor league athletes receive low pay and many experienced housing insecurities until last October, when MLB required minor league teams to provide their players with a place to live. Those working conditions can motivate players to organize.
Red Sox owner John Henry will be at the table.
Henry — who also owns Boston Globe Media Partners, including Boston.com — is part of a seven-person labor policy committee that will argue in favor of the owners. Dick Monfort of the Rockies is the chairman of the committee, which also includes Hal Steinbrenner of the Yankees.
No Red Sox player is part of the MLBPA Executive Subcommittee. Two members of the subcommittee – Shazer and Marcus Semien – signed huge deals before the shutdown.
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