Baseball's current collective bargaining agreement is scheduled to expire on Dec. 1. Yet, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, no one seems too concerned about the potential for a labor stoppage.
That's because, Kepner reports, the league and players union are focused on making tweaks rather than radical changes. For instance, both sides are in agreement about potentially adding a 26th player to the active roster; to adding more days off throughout the season; and to limiting September roster sizes (likely at 28 or 29 players).
That leaves little room for disagreement -- much of which seems confined to the areas of free agency, luxury taxes and the draft. Here's what Kepner wrote:
The union naturally wants as few restrictions as possible on free agency so players can have as many suitors as possible. One answer would be to allow teams losing top free agents to still be compensated, but to impose lesser penalties -- or no penalties at all -- on teams that sign them.
These are all predictable issues that boil down to this: The union wants its players to be able to earn more money -- and to have more agency over where they play -- while the league wants its teams to enjoy greater profits, which in turn means limiting the players' power. Both sides will give a little here and there, and a new CBA will be hashed out.
Of course, the average fan might see these negotiations as an annoyance -- bickering between billionaires and millionaires and nothing more. The good news for that fan is that, at least for the time being, it seems like the 2017 and future seasons will proceed as scheduled.