Whither the minors?
Yes, I know this is a minors’ site. And yet somehow forces much broader and larger keep creeping up on us, like a thong or an old-school jockstrap.
In theory, this shouldn’t matter… the minor-leaguers have no union and thus it should be
exploitation business as usual. But with the MLB takeover of the minors, it doesn’t seem right to look back to 1994 or 1995 and say “Well, last time they did X, Y, and Z” so this time they’ll do A, B, and C.
Plus, one of the core issues that the owners and players are fighting over is economics. Grossly oversimplified: the MLBPA wants younger players to get paid sooner while eliminating the incentives for owners to field uncompetitive teams with younger/cheaper players.
The problem, of course, is that the MLBPA has created these incentives by simultaneously throwing the kids under the bus while making them more valuable to ownership via caps on IFAs and slotting of draft picks.
As a result, teams are spending less on free agents overall, which has dragged down the average MLB salary by 6.4% since 2017 (i.e., the first year of the just-expired CBA), and the median salary has fallen 30% since 2015.
Getting back to “our guys”… my gut tells me (read: I’m guessing) that things will grind to a halt for a few weeks. The Rule 5 Draft can (and probably) will wait. The International Signing period will get pushed back, if for no other reason than it might be a negotiation point.
And, sadly, minor-league signings will be put on hold… just as they were in the early, pre-pandemic part of The Longest Offseason.