Major League Baseball's owner-imposed lockout is more than two months old, and is almost certainly going to delay the start of spring training. Predictably, given the slow pace of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement on the league's side, including a six-week delay between the start of the lockout and the beginning of talks, big-league players are beginning to express their frustrations publicly, through Twitter and other outlets.
Just last week, New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer tweeted for the first time since September about MLB's request for a mediator. "We want a system where threshold and penalties don't function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy," Scherzer explained in a pair of messages.
We don’t need mediation because what we are offering to MLB is fair for both sides:— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) February 4, 2022
Boston Red Sox lefty James Paxton added his two cents on the process at the time, and provided the MLB Players Association with a nifty hashtag when he tweeted: "A significant part of Collective Bargaining is…actually bargaining #AtTheTable."
Rich Hill, now a teammate of Paxton's, chose a more traditional medium for his critique of MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred by talking to Sean McAdam of Boston Sports Journal."It's so frustrating to see him reducing the draft, cutting the number of minor league teams. Why, so you can save a few bucks? But It's not about saving the money; it's about killing the game," Hill said. "Ten years from now, we'll say, 'Jeez, what happened to baseball?' You don't see it in the present. This is something that's going to affect the game a decade from now. That's where I have a problem with these things."
Chicago Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman, for his part, called Manfred "Manclown" in a tweet.
It seems unlikely that the players' prodding will inspire the owners to assume a greater sense of urgency with CBA talks. At minimum, it is evidence that the players themselves share fans' unease at the state of the game and the prospect of having the season compromised by the lockout.
The owners and Manfred are meeting this week in Orlando after the MLBPA declined to use a federal arbitrator last week.