As of January 20th, 2022 the Diamondbacks, and entire MLB is under a league wide lockout, which first was set in place on December 2nd, of 2021. Players and owners still can't come to an agreement, and tensions are very much still rising. In my opinion, the chances of getting an MLB season started in time this year, are waning away. You may be asking but why, what's all the fuss about? And how has this and is this going to continue to affect the Diamondbacks? Well first, let's take a look at why we're in this situation to begin with.
Every five years in the MLB, players and owners must agree to a CBA, also known as a Collective Bargaining Agreement, for play to be able to continue, and to see the players get paid. Typically, this goes on with no issue and a new CBA is signed, well before the current one they are bound to expires. Unfortunately, this is where the issue lies. The last CBA signed expired at 11:59PM, December 1st, 2021, and a new version hasn't been agreed to and signed off on.
"Oh geez, it's about money then isn't it?" you may be asking, and my answer to that is well, yes... and no. Of course it goes without speaking that one of the many disagreements in this debacle is that the players want more money. Specifically, more money, more evenly distributed across the league. This is a very understandable ask in my opinion. The reason why is, the disparity between pay at the elite player level, versus almost elite player level, is far too distinct, much less elite versus just good players. Salary has been consistently slipping across the league for several years now, and this needs to come to a stop.
Money isn't the only issue however. Service time manipulation, free agency rules, and tanking are also included in player complaints. Obviously, service time manipulation should be a no-no, but owners have been doing this for years. Former Mariners CEO Kevin Mather resigned last year, after unwittingly admitting it in public to a Rotary Club, among other things. Players want free agency after 6 years of service time, or 5 years of service time, if said player is 29.5 years of age or above, respectively. Tanking is a more obvious one, as it kills competition, and the integrity of the game.
Sports owners in general are known in the public eye to be a little bit greedy, to say the least, so the fact that they aren't agreeing to more money and better free agency terms, really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. With that being said, they aren't the product on the field and what millions of people across the United States tune in to see every Summer day. They need to figure this out, and figure this out fast. Owner's wants and needs, are miniscule in importance, compared to the players.
Now, how exactly has this, and is this currently affecting the Arizona Diamondbacks? Well, there's a very simple answer to this question: the Diamondbacks can't make any moves. Trading, signing free agents, and bringing up Minor Leaguers to train, all can't be done under the guise of a lockout. These are all very, very, very crucial steps to rebuilding a struggling team. The Arizona Diamondbacks are a struggling team. Last season was the only proof any of us needed to unfortunately see that. So moves are detrimental.
Obviously at the moment, the Diamondbacks cannot do that, and even if the MLB lockout ends in time to get a season up and running, there's no telling what rules or factors may be in place to prevent moves from occurring still. Hopefully this wouldn't be the case the D-Backs would hopefully hop straight into making power moves. Luckily for all of us, the farm system currently in place for the Diamondbacks is a very solid one, with very good to great players waiting to explode on the scene. With that said you still need time proven, big names, and unfortunately the 'Backs don't have many, and won't if this lockout persists.
At the end of the day, all we can do as Baseball is sit and play the wait and see game. We won't know every detail or new rule included in the new agreement until the day everybody can finally agree on one. Hopefully they can come to an agreeance sooner rather than later. We need more than what we currently have in Arizona, but baseball is at a standstill. The lockout needs to end for a variety of reasons, and one of those for Diamondback fans out there is, things ironically need to heat up in the hottest place in the States.