If you’ve been following the news and notes of the offseason for more than two months now, you would not be surprised to hear that MLB owners, including Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort, continue to shoot themselves in the foot in regards to the MLB lockout.
On Thursday afternoon, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that MLB has requested the assistance of a “federal mediator” to help resolve the lockout. Then, shortly thereafter, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that the owners will not make a counteroffer to the MLBPA’s proposal that was submitted on Tuesday.
But you have to negotiate to make a deal. MLB owners, apparently, didn’t receive that memo.
The MLB owners, led by Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort, have, apparently, decided to stop negotiating with the MLBPA. Instead, they will, seemingly, turn everything over to the federal mediator. There are only two problems with having a federal mediator, though.
First of all, the MLBPA has to agree upon having that federal mediator. Secondly, a federal mediator cannot make the sides come to an agreement.
For example, in the 1994-95 MLB strike, eventually, a federal mediator, Bill Usery (who was formerly the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the administration of former U.S. President Gerald Ford) was appointed by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. That led to absolutely nowhere.
Even in other sports, in an absolute best-case scenario, it still took more than a month of negotiations with a federal mediator to resolve the issues (like in the NHL, as Jeff Jones, who covers the Cardinals for The Belleville News-Democrat, notes on Twitter).
It also should be noted that when a federal mediator was appointed by President Clinton, it was in late October 1994. At the time, the MLBPA had been on strike for over two months but the previous CBA expired on December 31, 1993. So, overall, the two sides were without a deal for over 10 months. Currently, MLB and the MLBPA have only gone without a deal for just over two months.
In other words, the MLB owners not giving a counteroffer, not continuing to negotiate (no further negotiation meetings are set up), and claiming to want a federal mediator is just a publicity stunt.
Things are still very far apart between the two sides and that’s part of the recent why MLB is turning to expand the Triple-A season in 2022, because Triple-A baseball is the next best thing for them.
Until the owners stop with publicity stunts, nothing is going to happen and unfortunately, a federal mediator (if the MLBPA even agrees upon having one) likely won’t do much, which would mean that this lockout will become even more like the catastrophe that was the 1994-95 MLB lockout