11 trade targets the Blue Jays should consider this offseason
It's a fun time to be a buyer in MLB — provided, of course, there's even a market after Dec. 1. After losing Steven Matz, the Toronto Blue Jays will likely have a shorter window than usual to bolster their roster in an attempt to make it back to the postseason in 2022. As CBA talks reportedly remain stagnant and a lockout appears imminent, the Blue Jays have certainly started to narrow down their list of potential targets. In addition toAfter losing Steven Matz, the Toronto Blue Jays will likely have a shorter window than usual to bolster their roster in an attempt to make it back to the postseason in 2022.
IRVING, Texas (AP) — Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport’s collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day. © Provided by The Canadian Press
The strategy, management’s equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport’s labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.
Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994. Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage, but they have been accelerating toward a clash for more than two years.
MLB free-agency tracker: Latest deals, rumors on top names in the 2021-22 market
Here's the latest on the 2021-22 MLB free-agent market.And it starts with the free-agency market. This is a strong free-agent class, particularly with its middle infielders who include stars such as Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Javier Baez and Trevor Story.
“We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. “We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players' association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”
Talks that started last spring ended Wednesday after a brief session of mere minutes with the sides far apart on the dozens of key economic issues. Management’s negotiators left the union’s hotel about nine hours before the deal lapsed at 11:59 p.m. EST.
MLB’s 30 controlling owners held a brief digital meeting to reaffirm their lockout decision, and MLB delivered the announcement of its fourth-ever lockout — to go along with five strikes — in an emailed letter to the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Corey Seager contract details: Rangers lock up middle infield with former World Series MVP
Seager was the latest signing of a team that is committing major resources to improving its chances to compete in 2022.Texas has agreed to a deal with former Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, one of the most prominent free agents available. The Rangers will now feature a middle-infield duo of Seager and Marcus Semien after they signed the latter to a seven-year, $175 million contract on Sunday. In addition to the middle-infield pairing, Texas also signed right-hander Jon Gray to a four-year, $56 million contract.
“This drastic and unnecessary measure will not affect the players’ resolve to reach a fair contract," union head Tony Clark said in a statement. "We remain committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that enhances competition, improves the product for our fans, and advances the rights and benefits of our membership.”
This stoppage began 30 days after Atlanta’s World Series win capped a complete season following a pandemic-shortened 2020 played in empty ballparks.
The lockout’s immediate impacts were a memo from MLB to clubs freezing signings, the cancellation of next week's annual winter meetings in Orlando, Florida, and banishing players from team workout facilities and weight rooms while perhaps chilling ticket sales for 2022.
The union demanded change following anger over a declining average salary, middle-class players forced out by teams concentrating payroll on the wealthy and veterans jettisoned in favor of lower-paid youth, especially among clubs tearing down their rosters to rebuild.
Báez to Detroit, MLB teams race to finish biz before lockout
NEW YORK (AP) — Javier Báez agreed to bring his high motor to the Motor City, while other teams around the majors raced to finish up business before Tuesday's deadline to tender contracts and a likely roster freeze coming when baseball's collective bargaining agreement expires Wednesday. Clubs agreed to more than 30 one-year contracts with players to avoid salary arbitration, while 41 players were not tendered contracts and became free agents, including fan-favorite Brewers slugger Dan Vogelbach and Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman. The deadline for teams to offer contracts to players with less than six years of major league service was 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“As players we see major problems with it,” New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer said of the 2016 agreement. “First and foremost, we see a competition problem and how teams are behaving because of certain rules that are within that, and adjustments have to be made because of that in order to bring out the competition.”
Eleven weeks remain until pitchers and catchers are to report for spring training on Feb. 16, leaving about 70 days to reach a deal allowing for an on-time start. Opening day is set for March 31, and a minimum of three weeks of organized workouts have been required in the past.
Management, intent on preserving salary restraints gained in recent decades, rejected the union’s requests for what teams regarded as significant alterations to the sport’s economic structure, including lowering service time needed for free agency and salary arbitration.
“We offered to establish a minimum payroll for all clubs to meet for the first time in baseball history; to allow the majority of players to reach free agency earlier through an age-based system that would eliminate any claims of service time manipulation; and to increase compensation for all young players,” Manfred wrote. “When negotiations lacked momentum, we tried to create some by offering to accept the universal designated hitter, to create a new draft system using a lottery similar to other leagues."
More rain for BC, fighting Islamophobia in Ontario schools : In The News for Dec. 2
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Dec. 2 What we are watching in Canada Several rivers in British Columbia were under flood warnings on Wednesday as hundreds of homes remained evacuated because of heavy rainfall. There were 12 evacuation orders involving 350 homes in the Fraser Valley Regional District in its coverage area from Boston Bar to Abbotsford. Another 1,664 homes were on alert, most of them in Hatzic Valley, where numerous rivers and streams were at or near overflowing.
Many clubs scrambled to add players ahead of the lockout, committing to more than $1.9 billion in new contracts — including a one-day record of more than $1.4 billion Wednesday.
Two of the eight members of the union’s executive subcommittee signed big deals: Texas infielder Marcus Semien ($175 million) and Scherzer ($130 million).
“This is actually kind of fun,” Scherzer said. “I’m a fan of the game, and to watch everybody sign right now, to actually see teams competing in this kind of timely fashion, it’s been refreshing because we’ve seen freezes for the past several offseasons.”
No player remains active from the 232-day strike that cut short the 1994 season, led to the first cancellation of the World Series in 90 years and caused the following season to start late.
The average salary dropped from $1.17 million before the strike to $1.11 million but then resumed its seemingly inexorable rise. It peaked at just under $4.1 million in 2017, the first season of the latest CBA, but likely will fall to about $3.7 million when this year’s final figures are calculated.
That money is concentrated heavily at the top of the salary structure. Among approximately 1,955 players who signed major league contracts at any point going into the regular season’s final month, 112 had earned $10 million or more this year as of Aug. 31, of which 40 made at least $20 million, including prorated shares of signing bonuses.
Column: Baseball can't afford another extended labor dispute
ATLANTA (AP) — Baseball's last labor dispute was devastating, but the comeback had two big things working in its favor. Cal Ripken Jr. and steroids. The sport won't be so fortuitous if this lockout lingers into the spring. For the national pastime to maintain some semblance of its former glory, we better be talking about WAR and slash lines instead of the CBA and luxury tax rates by the time the Super Bowl is over. The brouhaha that came to a head this week with the owners locking out the players is a mere sideshow at the moment, overshadowed by the NFL playoff races and the biggest games of the college football season.
There were 1,397 earning under $1 million, of which 1,271 were at $600,000 or less and 332 under $100,000, a group of younger players who shuttle back and forth to the minors.
A union statement claimed the lockout “was specifically calculated to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits, and abandoning good-faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just players, but the game and industry as a whole. ... We have been here before, and players have risen to the occassion time and again — guided by a solidarity that has been forged over generations."
The union has withheld licensing money, as it usually does going into bargaining; cash, U.S. Treasury securities and investments totaled $178.5 million last Dec. 31, according to a financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Some player agents have speculated that management’s credit lines already may be pressured following income deprivation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but the clubs’ finances are more opaque publicly than that of the union, making it difficult to ascertain comparative financial strength to withstand a lengthy work stoppage.
Manfred succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner in 2015 following a quarter-century as an MLB labor negotiator. He was unusually critical publicly of the union's stance.
“They never wavered from collectively the most extreme set of proposals in their history,” he said, “including significant cuts to the revenue-sharing system, a weakening of the competitive balance tax, and shortening the period of time that players play for their teams. All of these changes would make our game less competitive.”
Blum reported from New York and Hawkins from Irving, Texas.
AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Ronald Blum And Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press
Julianna Peña stops Nunes, claims belt in UFC 269 shocker .
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Julianna Peña stopped Amanda Nunes by submission with a rear naked choke in the second round at UFC 269 on Saturday night, claiming the bantamweight title from the long-reigning two-division champion in one of the biggest upsets in recent UFC history. Charles Oliveira also defended his lightweight title for the first time with a third-round stoppage victory over Dustin Poirier by standing rear naked choke in the main event. PeñaCharles Oliveira also defended his lightweight title for the first time with a third-round stoppage victory over Dustin Poirier by standing rear naked choke in the main event.