MLB Hot Stove: Teams might skip winter meetings if CBA talks continue to stall

The winter meetings, baseball's annual hot stove extravaganza, are suddenly at risk because of the ongoing labor negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA.

Baseball's current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire Thursday. The 2017 meetings are scheduled to take place Dec. 5-8 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center outside Washington.

The winter meetings are, without question, the most exciting four days of the offseason. All 30 teams are in one place, which means rumors fly and blockbuster deals happen. It's great for the sport because baseball creates so many headlines in the cold of winter.

MLB club owners and the players union are still negotiating the CBA, though significant issues reportedly remain. An international draft is one of them. The owners have gone so far as to suggest that a lockout is possible, though that could be a negotiating ploy.

Baseball has not had a work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike, and neither MLB nor the MLBPA wants to end 21 years of labor peace. The game is healthy financially and both sides stand to lose a lot of money -- and goodwill -- with a work stoppage.

It's worth noting that Dec. 1 is not a hard deadline. The two sides could agree to continue negotiating the new CBA while operating under the terms of the current CBA. That's not ideal, but it is an option.

Hopefully all this talk of a lockout and skipping the winter meetings is just that, talk. Losing the winter meetings would be incredibly disappointing.

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