Happy Thursday, Athletics Nation!
There is no Major League Baseball on the horizon any time soon, and the daily lockout bargaining meetings have evaporated after this week’s deadline drama. As the smoke clears from the cancelling of Opening Day, and ambiguity rises from the fact that it could be anywhere from a month to a year until we see the green-and-gold on the field again, we will have to soldier on and pay attention to the other errata around the baseball world.
One interesting facet to keep an eye on is the players’ ability to play in leagues not affiliated with MLB. This concept largely sprung forward from an Instagram post by Bryce Harper this Monday.
MLB players have been quite active on social media today. Here’s Bryce Harper: pic.twitter.com/HicvVhOZcU— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 28, 2022
As detailed in Baseball America by Kyle Glaser, an attractive place for some players to spend time while enduring the lockout may be Korea or Japan. The players’ contracts have full allowance to play for other leagues when there is a work stoppage like a lockout, and the MLBPA has stated that they will happily defend any disputes that may arise from players doing so.
While Bryce’s post may have been tongue-in-cheek, other players have taken this as a legitimate avenue. Mentioned in the article is 2021 A’s pitcher Burch Smith, as the reliever signed with the Seibu Lions in Japan this January.
The leagues in Asia have often been an option for fringe big leaguers looking to prove themselves for MLB opportunities, and this year they provide an extra layer of security for some players who would normally be fighting for a 40-man roster spot this time of year. If the lockout does end soon, those players in Nippon Professional Baseball or the Korean KBO League would still have the ability to sign a new contract with an MLB team like any other free agent.
Foreign player roster spots are quite restricted in both leagues, so don’t expect to tune into a Nippon Ham Fighters game and suddenly see an outfield of Harper, Trout, and Betts. But as an option to stay in game shape and get some at-bats, taking a trip across the Pacific might be the right path for a select amount of players.
- Eckalbar: Paying young players more may break the A’s model for success and that’s OK
- Hutchinson: Detroit Tigers’ only trips to Seattle, Oakland canceled by MLB Owners
- Murray: This All-Star pitcher is a great fit for St. Louis Cardinals via trade (about Bassitt)
MLB News & Interest
- Glaser: Amidst Lockout Uncertainty, Players Opt To Sign In Japan and Korea
- Manfred: A letter to baseball fans
- Passan: ‘They need to stop treating us like we’re idiots’: How MLB can salvage this season
- Rosenthal: MLB’s owners had every advantage, and it still wasn’t enough for them ($)
- Kirshner: The Lords of Baseball Think You’re Stupid
- Davidi, Nicholson-Smith: With games now lost, baseball in limbo as both sides determine next steps
- Jaffe: No Joy in Mudville, No CBA in Jupiter, and No Opening Day on March 31
- Brisbee: Baseball games will be canceled, and there’s no both-sidesing this one ($)
- Clemens: Just How Far Apart Are the League and the MLBPA?
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter
Mike Trout offers his statement on the state of the lockout
Support for the players from the NBPA
The NBPA released a statement of support for the MLB players union.— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) March 2, 2022
"NBA players stand with our brothers at the MLBPA as they fight in collective bargaining for a more just and equitable system on behalf of current and future generations of professional baseball players." pic.twitter.com/0otbDpSyIH
More fallout from Monday coming to light