Things have remained quiet on the collective bargaining impasse over the past six weeks. While the owners, league, and the MLBPA have largely refrained from much sniping in the press, the fact remains that the owners had little interest in even beginning meaningful talks until the players could feel spring training bearing down on them. The hope, as always, was that the pressure of having no job and no idea where their families will be living this summer would crack the players’ unified front.
As a result, it remains highly unlikely that this is going to be resolved in January. Even February is looking like a real longshot at this point. However, on Tuesday news did finally emerge as to when negotiations would start up again. As Jeff Passan of ESPN reported, a bargaining session is now set for Thursday, January 13, with the aim to restart talks via a new core economics proposal.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association plan to hold a bargaining session Thursday, sources tell ESPN. MLB is expected to make a core-economics proposal at the session, which would be the first between the sides since the league locked out the players on Dec. 2.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 11, 2022
Our own Patrick O’Kennedy has done a fantastic job unpacking the major points of disagreement, and where common ground may be found, over the past few months. His updated overview of the situation is pretty comprehensive and will get you up to speed on where things stand and what the major sticking points are between the two parties.
The players union isn’t the only one beefing with the league, either. Former minor league teams who were contracted out of existence during the league’s arbitrary minor league reorganization last year, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league, seeking damages, and challenging the antitrust exemption Major League Baseball has enjoyed for over a century. Baseball Prospectus has an excellent piece on the subject open to non-subscribers. Meanwhile, MSNBC has a brief piece from Bill Baer looking back at the 1995 strike and the players who crossed the union’s picket lines.
Let’s hope the game of chicken ends by March 1, so early season games won’t be cancelled.
Support for Emily Waldon
Long-time readers of the site will remember Emily Waldon as BYB’s prospect writer for several years. Since then she’s gone on to write for The Athletic and Baseball America, among other outlets, and made us proud winning a SABR award for her part in exposing living conditions for minor league players. Now she could use a little support. Please extend prayers, positive vibes, whatever you’ve got, for her to win her fight against cancer. You can also help by buying this Pitching Ninja shirt from RotoWear, the net proceeds of which will go to Emily’s support fund.
There is also a more direct route via Emily’s GoFundMe account organized by Tigers minor league coach, Tony Cappuccilli.
As a baseball community we are capable of doing remarkable things. Let’s get together to support our friend in her most trying time.Please consider donating to the GoFundMe set up to assist @EmilyCWaldon offset her costs in her fight against breast cancer! https://t.co/z6yURzrPDU
— Tony Cappuccilli (@tcapp19) January 11, 2022
Genevieve Beacom becomes first female pro pitcher in Australia
This is pretty cool. 17-year-old southpaw, Genevieve Beacom, became the first female player in Australian professional baseball when she took the mound for the Melbourne Aces last Friday night. She showcased a pretty nice breaking ball, good control for her age, and has reportedly touched 84 mph. Her scoreless inning of work, with an error and then a walk included, didn’t carry Melbourne to victory over the Adelaide Giants in Australian Baseball League action, but it was a pretty incredible statement of possibility. Beacom hopes to earn a baseball scholarship to pitch in the United States in 2023.
Neural network as magical realism bot
That mad scientist and friend of the site, Dan Szymborski, senior FanGraphs writer and creator of the ZIPS projection system, is at it again. On Monday, he put his neural network to work in entertaining fashion, generating new team mottos for all MLB teams in 2022. He followed that up with one random fact about various players. The results are pretty fun. We’ll take “attack, attack, attack,” as the Tigers 2022 motto.
Need some offseason action? I asked the neural network for a little known fact about each of the top 50 FanGraphs-projected unsigned free agents.
I am totally confident that these are all 100% true. pic.twitter.com/0yERH8CofN
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) January 10, 2022
Around the horn
We’ll write about this shortly, but Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein have FanGraphs’ new top prospect list up for the Detroit Tigers. Meanwhile, Evan Woodbery has a really good interview with Dan Dickerson up over at MLive. Some pretty interesting takeaways are included. Jason Beck offers a brief history of the Tigers’ uniforms over the years.
In keeping with the Genevieve Beacom story, the New York Yankees plan to make Rachel Balkovec the first female minor league manager, according to The Athletic. A former college catcher with a decade in coaching, Balkovec is expected to take over the Low-A Tampa Tarpons for the 2022 season.
The goodly folk over at Purple Row are feeling the pain these days, as the Colorado Rockies struggle amidst the leviathans of the NL West. The fact that they just made the owner’s son Director of Pro Scouting doesn’t strike us as a promising development. DRaysBay takes a look at the Tampa Bay business community’s support for a new stadium.
Juan Soto’s little brother, Elian, is reportedly going to follow his brother to the Washington Nationals next year, which seems weird considering teams aren’t supposed to reach deals with players until they’re eligible. Funny that. CBS Sports also looks back at each MLB’s team greatest free agent signing ever. Our AL Central foes, the Minnesota Twins, are facing an arms crisis. Twinkie Town takes a brief look. Finally, the Baltimore Orioles are planning on moving the fences back in left field. It may be the end of their era as a launching pad.