Samson: Threat Of MLB Work Stoppage In 2022 Very Real

Former MLB executive David Samson always thought there would be baseball this year, but the 2022 season is very much in jeopardy

June 18, 2020 - 7:48 am
Trevor Bauer Reds

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Major League Baseball and the MLBPA reportedly made significant progress toward a 2020 season Wednesday, and former MLB executive David Samson isn’t the least bit surprised.

“I’ve been saying this from the beginning,” Samson told JR SportBrief. “Everything is going to be fine; there’s going to be baseball; this is all normal negotiating. The problem is that everything has been so public. Baseball fans live and die with every back and forth. And so, they get really excited when they think there’s going to be an agreement. They get really angry when they think there’s going to be no agreement. But when you’re in the room and you’re doing the negotiating, it really feels much more normal and more controlled. There’s times when you’re angry. There’s times when you storm away from the table. There’s times when you tell your constituents – whether it’s players or owners – ‘Hey, the other side is unreasonable. Hey, I don’t think this can get done right now.’ But eventually you get to a deal that’s a little painful for both sides, and that’s where we’re going to get to now.”

Unfortunately, negotiations have been extremely contentious, which could impact the next collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement expires after the 2021 season.

“People have been mistaken thinking that this has been a collective bargaining negotiation. It’s acted like it, but it actually is not,” Samson said. “Baseball has an agreement that they’re operating under right now. [But] there are going to be lines drawn in the sand between players and owners, and the distrust and mistrust that exists between the two sides is going to linger. When they start negotiating for another collective bargaining agreement – let’s say another five-year term – there’s going to be a lot of arguments, back and forth, more of these ups and downs, and the threat of a work stoppage is going to be real for the 2022 season. 

“I don’t want to be negative about it,” Samson continued. “I’m going to be practical. If there were ever a time for MLB to have its first work stoppage since 1995, it’s going to happen in 2022. I’m hopeful that by players and owners getting together now that it would have made it easier, but the way this has gone down, I think it’s now going to make it harder.”