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Here are some possible unintended consequences of the MLB lockout, whenever it ends

There’s more to getting players back on the field than just signing a collective bargaining agreement.

Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We still seem a long way from a collective bargaining agreement between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association, though they are scheduled to meet again Wednesday afternoon in Jupiter, Florida.

Presuming an agreement can be reached before next Monday, February 28, the self-imposed deadline set by owners and players so as to not have a delay in the start of the 2022 regular season, there will be a mad rush to get players from wherever they are to various spring camps in Arizona and Florida, as well as get the 200+ free agents signed.

Beyond that, there are a couple of things shared by reporters on Twitter Tuesday that could be concerns for both players and teams if the lockout is lifted and a deal made by next Monday.

First:

This is a real concern. First, we don’t know where any of these international players are for the winter, or at this moment. Some (for example, Willson Contreras) have winter homes in the United States and might be in this country. But with baseball locked out, there’s no way they can get work visas, since there is literally no work for them at this time.

I don’t know exactly how this process works, but I do know that even in a normal baseball season, we often hear about international players reporting late to camps because of “visa troubles.” I can’t imagine work visas for baseball players are at the top of the State Department’s to-do list right now.

Then there’s this:

I agree with this take. You have, no doubt, seen the way Cubs starting pitchers have ramped up for the season over a normal six-plus week spring schedule that includes five weeks’ worth of games, usually five or six starts. First they throw two innings, then three, four, etc. until they are (theoretically) ready to throw seven innings on Opening Day, perhaps up to 90 or 95 pitches by then.

If a shortened spring training regime only has time to get a starter up to 65 pitches, we’re going to see a lot of four- and five-inning starts when the season begins. Of course, we were starting to see a lot of that toward the end of 2021, not just from the Cubs but from many teams. It will put pressure on bullpens and could lead to more pitcher injuries. We saw that during the pandemic-abbreviated 2020 season, when the three-week “Summer Camp” did exactly that. Of course, that’s not quite the same thing. In 2020 players had about two-thirds of a normal spring camp — about four weeks, coincidentally — before everything got shut down. Then they had to work out on their own for four months to keep in shape, and even had to do things like this after the 2020 season began and some teams were quarantined for COVID:

Seriously, we don’t need stuff like that in 2022. But MLB might actually need more than four weeks of Spring Training to avoid pitcher injuries. Remember, they are (theoretically) not going into a 60-game season, they would be trying to ramp up for 162 games in two weeks’ less time than usual.

What could possibly go wrong?

As always, we await developments.

Poll

The lockout will end...

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    ... before February 28, the supposed deadline for getting the season started on time
    (41 votes)
  • 38%
    ... sometime in March
    (179 votes)
  • 20%
    ... sometime in April
    (94 votes)
  • 8%
    ... sometime in May
    (39 votes)
  • 6%
    ... sometime in June
    (32 votes)
  • 17%
    ... after July 1
    (79 votes)
464 votes total Vote Now