After several days of negotiations going quite poorly, including Wednesday’s talks lasting just seven minutes, the owners of Major League Baseball teams have unanimously voted to initiate a lockout until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement can be ratified. As of 12:01 AM today, the league is officially in its first work stoppage since the 1994 players’ strike. This is bad news for the sport, for the players, and for the fans. Here’s what it means for both the Colorado Rockies and their fanbase.
Players are quite literally locked out.
Starting today, all players are barred from using team facilities or being in contact with team employees. This means that players rehabbing injuries like Peter Lambert, or working on offseason conditioning like Germán Márquez, will now lo longer be able to do so at Coors Field or other team training facilities. They also can no longer work with the team’s coaches or training personnel until a new CBA has been ratified. All players under major league contracts will have to find independent coaches and trainers to work with, and work out at home or at non-affiliated facilities.
Contract signings and negotiations are halted.
Jon Gray is officially gone from the Rockies, having completed his physical and signed his contract before the work stoppage. The same goes for any player who officially signed their contract with their new team prior to last night’s deadline. What this means for the Rockies is that they can no longer pursue new major league contracts until a new CBA is agreed upon. The Rockies have been linked to a few players, including Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and even Trevor Story, but nothing concrete emerged before the deadline.
Rockies general manager Bill Schmidt has so far just maintained the status quo, extending Antonio Senzatela and Elias Díaz, as well as inking new contracts for C.J. Cron and Jhoulys Chacín. The Rockies have not signed a major free agent from outside the organization since Daniel Murphy on December 21, 2018 and if Schmidt is intending to do so (as he promised he would pursue last month), he won’t be able to until the lockout ends.
The minor leagues are not affected.
Because Minor League Baseball is not a part of the MLB Players’ Union, they are not affected by the lockout. Players on minor league contracts will be allowed to use minor league facilities and communicate with their teams and coaches. In the event of a continued work stoppage or players’ strike that eats into the regular season (more on that later), minor league teams are expected to play on schedule for the 2022 season. Teams can also continue to sign players to minor league contracts, so the Rockies can continue to seek depth or deals at the minor league level.
Fans no longer have access to news and video.
As of this morning, Major League Baseball has wiped their websites clean of player names, photos, and up to date news concerning teams in the league. Upcoming promotions are called “mystery player” or just lists the position. All listed news articles on the Rockies website are about the lockout or historical events, such as the 1995 Wild Card. All clips and highlights of current players via MLB’s Film Room website are no longer available to be viewed by fans. You can, however, still buy merchandise and tickets.
This has the potential to get ugly, and affect the 2022 season.
If the MLBPA and the league owners can’t come to an agreement on a new CBA before spring training starts in late February of 2022, this lockout has the potential to extend into the regular season. If it does, expect to see the cancellation of games, events, or even the entire season if things break down entirely. The league has not cancelled a season of play since partway through 1994, so assume that to be the absolute worst case scenario. If the CBA isn’t ratified until after spring training, expect things to be similar to the COVID-shortened 2020 season. The best case scenario is that a new CBA is ratified before spring training and the season proceeds business-as-usual.
Purple Row isn’t going anywhere.
Even in the event of an extended lockout, we here at Purple Row aren’t going anywhere any time soon. We will continue to provide you with updates about the lockout, the team, and the players, as well as provide you with the excellent content you have come to expect from us. Thank you for your support, and we all hope this gets resolved soon so we can enjoy the 2022 baseball season together.
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Rox Pile’s Noah Yingling explores how the Rockies’ bullpen is taking shape so far this offseason. The Rockies agreed to new contracts with Daniel Bard and Tyler Kinley prior to the non-tender deadline, and brought back Jhoulys Chacín on a one year deal. With the lockout now in full swing, there’s not much else they can do until things are resolved.
Fansided’s Gabrielle Starr explores the newest scandal that has come to light in Major League Baseball: that the league was using two different balls during the 2021 season without telling players. The league used both a deadened ball that helped pitchers and hampered offensive performances, while also using a juiced ball similar to prior seasons that led to higher offensive output. MLB blamed this on excess inventory after the COVID-shortened season, but dates of manufactue show the balls were made well after-the-fact.
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