Nobody wants Major League Baseball to skip a season. The players want to get paid. The owners want the revenue that comes from having a season. The fans definitely don’t want to go an entire year without Major League Baseball. Everybody involved wants MLB and the MLBPA to come to an understanding on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, neither party seems to be budging on their conditions. It’s becoming increasingly clear that a new CBA will not be agreed upon before the December 1 deadline.
This would be Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike, and when it ends, it could create one of the most hectic free agency frenzies of all-time. If a work stoppage does occur, it’s likely that it wouldn’t end until February 2022. Why February? I couldn’t tell you. That just seems to be the consensus for when everyone expects the labor discord to end, probably because nobody wants to miss an entire season, not the players, not the owners. Nobody is happy if a season is missed, and February would be just before spring training starts
How does this affect free agency though? Well, there are several big names in free agency this season, particularly at the shortstop position. Dodgers’ star Corey Seager, Astros’ franchise cornerstone Carlos Correa, Rockies’ slugger Trevor Story, and Mets’ middle infielder Javier Baez among many others. You could also argue that Blue Jays’ second baseman Marcus Semien be thrown in that conversation as well, seeing as how he only ever played the shortstop position with the Oakland Athletics (albeit not very well) before heading north of the border. These players essentially have two options: wait until February and try to navigate their way through a slew of free-agent dealings right before the start of the season, thereby risking the possibility of not being signed before the regular season starts and missing out on some cash...or sign a deal before the start of December.
According to reports, both Seager and Semien are looking to take the latter option. Both players are clients of Scott Boras, one of the most prolific agents in professional sports, and the man responsible for helping players like Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, and Stephen Strasburg, among many other elite baseball players sign mega contracts in previous seasons. Boras was a big name at the recent GM meetings, and aside from criticizing Major League Baseball for creating a system that allowed the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series despite being under .500 until the middle of August, he was there to get his clients some guaranteed money.
The Yankees have supposedly been in heavy talks with “most, but not all” agents for the top free agent shortstops. If they’re looking to get a deal done now, you can probably imagine how many other teams have the same idea. The MLB Hot Stove is warming up much sooner than it normally does because of the current MLB climate. While it may be a dull few months for MLB free agent news once December hits, the end of November could end up seeing some of the biggest deals of the winter, with Seager and Semien the poster children for getting a contract without having to face whatever the new CBA may bring.