Major League Baseball could in theory lock out members of the Baltimore Orioles and other teams on Thursday if they don’t reach a new collective bargaining agreement. So let’s say that a lockout occurs…would next week’s Winter Meetings be canceled as a result? Anything is possible I presume…
…however I doubt it. The Winter Meetings are scheduled well in advance, and a lot of planning goes into them. This year they’re being held right here in Maryland at the National Harbor resort outside of DC. It’s been in the works for a long time.
Nevertheless, the Winter Meetings will go on as scheduled. However if a lockout occurs on Thursday, that would put a hold on free agency. And as we all know, that’s a huge part of the Winter Meetings every year. Agents and even players are all lingering around and talking to owners and GM’s. There are always a few “big ticket items” that go off the shelves at the Winter Meetings in terms of free agents landing with new teams.
So if the players are locked out, that aspect of the annual gathering won’t be present, which means that very little news will trickle out of the gathering. There will still be the annual Rule 5 draft, in which one would expect the Orioles to be active as usual. And the executives will still discuss the business of the sport, among other things. Just no free agency.
Incidentally, there’s a third option aside from a new CBA or a lockout. The sides could also vote to extend the current CBA just a bit. That would signal to fans that a deal is close, they just can’t reach it by Thursday. It would be similar to what the United States Congress calls a “Continuing Reslution” – or CR. When they can’t reach a budget deal by September 30th (which is the end of the fiscal year) they’ll often pass a CR to extend the previous budget by a period of time.
This gives them more time to negotiate and so forth, however in reality all it truly does is kick the can down the road. But it keeps the Federal Government open as opposed to having it close and furloughing thousands of government employees. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s the route down which MLB executives and the player’s association go later this week. Either way, a lockout doesn’t serve anyone in the long run.