The Major League Baseball lockout has begun.
Wednesday night, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between MLB and its players expired. The two sides haven’t agreed to a new deal yet, so the owners voted to institute a lockout while negotiations continue.
Thus ends 26 years of labor peace, technically speaking. The last work stoppage was the 1994-95 player strike, 9,741 days prior, though relations haven’t exactly been cordial since then.
What does a lockout mean? The short version is that the offseason goes on pause, so teams can’t sign major league free agents or make trades involving major leaguers. Since this is December there aren’t any games to worry about, unless this drags on for several months. Here are a couple links with more details, including what’s happening and how we got here:
- How Oakland A’s are affected by potential lockout
- ESPN: Everything you need to know about MLB’s lockout
- MLB: FAQ on the CBA negotiations
- Rob Manfred: A letter to baseball fans
- Statement from MLB Players Association
However, teams can still trade and sign minor league players, who aren’t part of the union. They can also hire managers, which means the A’s could continue their search for a new skipper during this time.
Perhaps the weirdest effect of the lockout so far is that the league temporarily loses likeness rights to players, leading them to remove videos and images from their official sites.
A few players responded by changing their Twitter avatars to that gray placeholder head.
The A’s are probably headed for a bummer offseason anyway, in which they’re expected to trade away a bunch of stars and begin a rebuild, so for Oakland fans this lockout just delays some inevitable heartbreak. However, it does remain to be seen how the new CBA might affect the team, from topics of expanding the postseason field, to adjusting the arbitration process, to raising the minimum player salary or even establishing a minimum payroll floor, among others.
For now, we wait, an indefinite amount of time. It could be weeks, or months, but hopefully it’s all settled in plenty of time for spring training.