No need to fret about Hal Steinbrenner letting a high-priced potential target go to another team without trying to counter. No reason to worry about whether a prospective trade really was on the one-yard line or whether it had all been fabricated. Every roster worry seemed to be shrouded in a haze of, “Well, there might not be a season anyway” while the two sides silently stewed. Suddenly, an air of calm pervaded baseball’s angriest fanbase.
By January, though, the lockout had become appropriately infuriating. We missed baseball; we didn’t care about the nine men on the field as much as we wanted something to do in primetime every single summer night.
The shortstop worries could wait; we’d resolve those once ownership agreed to unlock the door and give us all our security blanket back.
On Monday morning, the MLBPA and ownership finally made, seemingly out of nowhere, their first real progress in ages.
11 days after both sides exchanged figures for just a few minutes before breaking apart, the two camps discussed ongoing issues for two and a half hours, setting another meeting for Tuesday.
Nothing has been decided, but that’s genuine momentum towards potentially avoiding missed or canceled games entirely.
Yankees fans must get ready after a positive 2022 CBA update
Temper that enthusiasm just a bit, Yankees fans. There is no deal, even though some fans with sources tried to claim on Monday that we were approaching one.
MLB players also did make a significant concession Monday, dropping their proposal that free agency arrive quicker than six years after one’s MLB debut, reducing a proposed increase to players’ earning power. Until we learn what good-faith concessions ownership is willing to make, this sounds like the players taking a loss at the negotiating table, which would be depressing in a different way than striking games from the record.
According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the dialogue in Monday’s meeting was not conciliatory, however. People got angry. Ideas were exchanged. This was not a formality.
For the Yankees, the theoretical approach of the regular season comes with a million issues to sort out during a sprint-to-the-finish free agency process.
Will Freddie Freeman consider them, or will the Braves get something finished first? Has Carlos Correa’s move to Scott Boras taken him out of the Yankees’ imagined price range? Who plays shortstop, for the love of all that is holy?!
December brought a respite from these lingering questions. January brought renewed annoyance that we legally couldn’t answer them yet. Ideally, February brings with it a far more familiar form of frustration: with his hands now untied, what will Hal Steinbrenner do to fix his broken roster?