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What's next after MLB owners imposed a lockout of players?

LaMond Pope, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO — While acknowledging that a lockout is “bad for our business,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said owners imposed one “out of a desire to drive the process forward to an agreement now.”

Manfred spoke with reporters Thursday morning in Arlington, Texas, a few hours after the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the players association expired and the owners locked out the players.

It’s the first MLB work stoppage since the strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and a shortened 1995 season.

“Despite the lockout, we remain ready to bargain whenever the players association wants to bargain, and we are steadfast in our desire to get a new agreement,” Manfred said.

Asked how exactly a lockout would move the process forward, Manfred said, “People need pressure sometimes to get to an agreement. Candidly, we didn’t feel that sense of pressure from the other side during the course of this week, and the only tool available to you under the (National Labor Relations) Act is to apply economic leverage.”

In a statement shortly after the lockout began, the players association said: “This shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing. It is not required by law or for any other reason. It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure the Players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just Players, but the game and industry as a whole.”

 

The lockout puts a freeze on transactions such as free agency. Coaches and front-office personnel are not allowed to communicate with players on the 40-man roster, who are part of the union. Players on the 40-man roster also cannot use team facilities.

“Since MLB chose to lock us out, I’m not able to work with our amazing team (p)hysical (t)herapists who have been leading my post surgery care/progression,” wrote New York Yankees starter Jameson Taillon on Twitter.

Taillon reportedly had surgery in late October to repair a tendon in his right ankle.

Taillon, Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito and Cubs outfielder Ian Happ were among the big leaguers to change their Twitter profile pictures to a generic baseball player photo, which MLB is using on roster pages after scrubbing team websites of current players. Manfred said the changes to the sites were a legal issue.

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