Cubs players furious with MLB; free agent frenzy to come; Opening Day in May?

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Tony Clark / Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Cubs: Should we be expecting an Opening Day in May or June instead?

Manfred and the league hit the players with a lockout on Dec. 1 in what he said would help push both sides to the bargaining table. Well, then nearly two months passed without any movement whatsoever – so it’s hard to believe that statement.

Even after the players and owners met for eight days in a row and everyone was seemingly inches from a deal, why hasn’t the lockout since been lifted as a sign of good faith from the MLB?

An article on MLB Trade Rumors specifically outlines the cause, and when you read it, it all starts to come together.

"As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic outlines, local television contracts don’t call for rebates from teams until roughly 25 games are lost. Jeff Passan of ESPN adds some specifics, writing that avoiding rebates requires broadcasting between 138 and 150 games (with slight team-to-team variation). That plays into the owners’ ability to hold out, as does the general fact that their wealth considerably outpaces that of the players. In cold-weather states, April is a relatively poorly attended month anyhow — at least after the early rush of the opening series.”"

What I personally take from this is it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think the owners wanted to pay the players less this season after their self-stated catastrophic losses in 2020 while ensuring they don’t lose money based on TV deals that are in place. The owners have all the leverage and time on their side. Important to note that the owners pockets are much deeper than that of the players.

Especially most players who are near league minimum and and therefore aren’t exactly keen on missing out on a whole season. Never mind the ballparks that will remain closed and the workers at those stadiums who depend on he MLB season who must now deal with consequences that aren’t of their own making, let alone the minor leaguers who are hoping to showcase their abilities at the major league level.

The league is and always has been primarily concerned with making themselves as much money as possible. Essentially, an entire season lost is a haymaker to the players, where it is more of a mere jab to the owners with how much net worth difference there is between the two sides. Therefore, the owners believe the players will eventually have to cave to a more league favorable CBA or the players will ultimately wind up doing more damage to themselves by not being paid at all. It is easy for the more wealthy MLB players to stick together at the time and “stick it to the man”, but it is the younger players, a lot of them, who wind up suffering the most. And that is something the MLBPA must be aware of to avoid any internal conflict.

Going back to the bit from MLBTR, basically the league can afford to lose around 25 games before they face financial penalty from their television contracts. This theory can put us right on pace for a new CBA toward the end of March to allow for free agency part two, spring training in the beginning of April and an Opening Day of May 1 (or thereabouts).