Chicago Cubs: Uncertainty, fear overshadow the World Series
By Duane Pesice
Since the news has been leaking out of the dark and dismal state of labor relations in MLB, on the eve of the World Series, I thought I’d update Chicago Cubs fans on who the main players are. The general assumption is that such things are leaked to the press on purpose, and this tidbit, coming from the hard-news Associated Press, has a lot more dramatic weight than any number of Buster Olney or Jon Heyman tweets.
I’ve been assuming for quite some time that this was the case, and that the Cubs, in particular were gearing up for it, given the conspicuous roster holes on the club following the fire sale, and I’m fairly certain that there will be at least a reduction in the number of games played.
Last time around, Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the MLBPA, undertook to participate in the negotiations personally. This was almost unanimously taken to be a complete disaster, and Bruce Meyer, Senior Director, Collective Bargaining & Legal, will be taking the opposite side of the table from Rob Manfred and Dan Halem, Deputy Commissioner of Major League Baseball. All three of those gentlemen have a lifetime in labor negotiations and baseball law to fall back on.
Here’s the 2017-2021 CBA.
Dayn Perry says that there are seven basic questions to be answered, in an article published Monday, he says “… the business of baseball is going to be the main character of the coming offseason…” and goes on to talk about the state of things. It isn’t good. Both sides are entrenched and look ready for war.
Perry even mentions press leaks as a tactic in his article. So far they’ve been the only weapon, and they’ll get flying even thicker after the Series, when there’s no in-season news and the kid gloves can come off.
It’s going to be dismal. There aren’t going to be many, if any, free agent signings. There will likely be some extensions, and lots of jockeying for position, and words will be said, but in the end we’ll just have words until there’s some movement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Indeed. Tony Clark told the Washington Post in March that he expected in-season negotiations to occur, and no good-faith proposals have been forthcoming. The two sides did meet in April.
Chicago Cubs: A work stoppage of some sort seems inevitable already
The players want better compensation, greater revenue shares, a revamped arbitration system, and some kind of hedges against the kind of tanking that the Cubs are indulging in presently.
These things seem reasonable on the face of them, but the ownership group would prefer some variety of serfdom, especially in the case of younger players, who must be kept hungry while in the minor leagues to develop an appetite for the kind of conditions they would face in the Show.
Literally. Next year they’re supposed to have some free housing, though that effort is freighted with terms and conditions. Here’s what Jeff Passan had to say:
"An overhaul of baseball’s core economic system is highly unlikely, sources said, citing the limited amount of time to strike a deal and keep labor peace uninterrupted since 1995. The union nevertheless intends to target spending and competitive integrity — particularly the promotion of competition by all teams — among its priorities with a new deal. Players are also in favor of funneling money to players earlier in their careers, the potential for free agency before six years of service and a solution to — or at least remedy of — service-time manipulation."
And that’s where things stand, on the eve of the World Series, before crowning the champion of the sport for another year. The timing couldn’t be worse.