If you’ve got today off, I hope that you have a better time than the people negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.
- I’m just going to point you to Al’s article about the delay of Spring Training and Sara’s piece on the issues surrounding the Competitive Balance Tax in case you missed them or if you need a refresher on the issues involved.
- Jesse Rogers notes that MLB and the MLB Players Association are finally getting serious and that there are “several” negotiating sessions planned for this week. Rogers reports that they may even meet every day.
- Gabe Lacques answers some questions about the lockout and Spring Training.
- Here’s a timeline of the negotiations and what (little) they’ve agreed on so far.
- Why are the two sides talking so much this week? Maybe this is why.
Last thing: Heard MLBPA has told MLB not to expect expanded playoffs in 2022 if players miss the chance to play a full 162 and be compensated for the full season.— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 18, 2022
- Matt Martell takes some “new hope” from these kickstarted talks and no, he can’t avoid the Star Wars references.
- Alex Speier uses the example of Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta to explain why service time manipulation is so important for the players in these negotiations.
- R.J. Anderson explains how and why the “luxury tax” has become such a sticking point in the negotiations.
- Kevin Kerman writes about the magic of Spring Training and how the MLB owners are more that willing to destroy that magic in the name of profit.
- Maria Torres and Kaitlyn McGrath explain what is going to happen to prospects on the 40-man roster (but not in the majors) while the lockout continues. (The Athletic sub. req.) There’s a real danger that some of these players will fall behind in their development while they are locked out.
- Travis Sawchik explains why fans can buy stock in their favorite sports club. (Except the Green Bay Packers, and that ownership is mostly symbolic.)
- Ken Rosenthal says the Eric Kay trial raises the question of just how widespread is opioid use in MLB? (The Athletic sub. req.)
- It’s been revealed that before the lockout, the Nationals offered outfielder Juan Soto a 13-year, $350 million deal, which Soto rejected. While such a contract would be the third-biggest in MLB history, Jay Jaffe explains why that was a lowball offer.
- Mike Axisa agrees: Soto would have been foolish to take that deal.
- Dan Szymborski tries to find contracts and teams for the remaining top free agent hitters.
- Bob Nightengale thinks the Mariners are well-positioned to end their 20-year playoff drought—if only the season would start.
- On that, some rumors have the Mariners very interested in signing free agent Kris Bryant. Also, free agent Tommy Pham would be willing to play first base for the Rays.
- Mets right-handed pitching prospect Matt Allan is coming off having missed all of 2021 with Tommy John surgery and of course, he missed 2020 because all minor leaguers missed 2020. But Allan says he’s willing to miss all of 2022 as well if that what it takes to keep him healthy and ready for a long major league career.
- If you’re missing baseball, this past weekend was the start of the college baseball season. If you want to know how to watch college baseball, here’s a guide to how and where you can watch. I watched some Big West games over the weekend, which might sound like obscure stuff to college football and basketball fans, but the Big West is big-time in NCAA baseball with such powerhouses as UC-Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and UC-Irvine, as well as traditional power Cal State Fullerton. Also Cal Poly, with expected Top-10 draft pick, shortstop Brooks Lee.
- Vanderbilt showed off wearable pitch-signaling devices for the first time over the weekend. Coming soon to MLB?
- There was also the Andre Dawson Classic tournament, which highlights the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). And it’s named after The Hawk.
- It was 56 years ago this past weekend that Emmett Ashford became the first Black MLB umpire.
- The classic Simpsons’ episode “Homer at the Bat” turned 30 years old on Sunday. Daniel Brown looks back at the making of that well-loved baseball episode, (The Athletic sub. req.) as well as checking in with players.
- Mike Petriello tries to figure out how many games the Springfield team from that episode would win, using MLB: the Show.
- Some idiot drove his Ford Bronco onto the field Petco Park and started doing donuts and causing all other kinds of damage to the field.
- Finally, if you’ve been reading me doing this column for several years, you know that often when I needed a funny or light-hearted story to end with, I would pick something from Yahoo! Sports’ Mike “Oz” Osegueda. He had a series where he would open packs of old baseball cards with retired players, managers or just celebrities and asked them to talk about the players in the packs, for one. Well, Osegueda was laid off from Yahoo! early in 2021, which is why you don’t see him around here anymore. Three weeks after losing his job, his sister was killed in a hit-and-run accident. But Osegueda has bounced back from his losses and is now running a successful business where he organizes food truck events in Fresno, California. (The Athletic sub. req.) It’s a story about overcoming setbacks, dealing with grief and thriving in the end.
End the lockout, Manfred.