Early Lockout Thoughts

The inevitable happened and it’s still annoying. Like a dreaded Monday after a good weekend, the owner-imposed lockout of MLB players happened last week and now we’re left with a cold, relatively baseball-less winter. As a quick aside, I’m being generous in calling the 2021 season a good weekend, huh? Regardless of that, it looks like we’re in for the long haul, so let’s have some reminders.

  1. It’s not your money! This applies to free agent signings and it applies to revenues in baseball. That money is not yours and is never going to be yours. Don’t hate on it when players ask for more of it; they have a relatively short window to earn as much as they can and, dammit, they should, just like any of us would. I would rather my money go to the people actually providing the entertainment than the wealthy people who pay their checks.
  2. You wouldn’t do your job for less money than you think you’re worth, right? Right. And neither should nor will MLB players. Baseball is a game, sure, but to the players, it’s also work and this dispute is just like any number of work disputes any one of us could have. They’re going to–just like we would–fight for what they think they deserve. Will they necessarily get it all? Probably not. But they’re right to fight for it and we ought to support them; they’re much more like us–workers–than they are the owner–bosses.
  3. Unionize your workplace! This goes especially for minor league baseball players. I hope we see them unionize real soon.

Now, to a more Yankee specific thought.

As we’re all aware, there was quite the free agent frenzy in the days and hours leading up to the imposition by the owners of the lockout. And as we’re even more well aware, the Yankees sat out that free agent frenzy and watched other teams snap up players. On a visceral level, it’s kind of annoying, isn’t it? But, thinking about it more, it’s not the end of the world, is it? They likely have a plan and it didn’t include grabbing a dude with a lockout impending. Both Carlos Correa and Trevor Story–both excellent FA targets at a position of need–are still out there, after all, and the Yankees could easily sign one post-lockout.

And considering the team’s owner is one of the more hawkish owners with regards to the CBA fight, it’s not all the surprising the Yankees didn’t chomp at the bit and stuck to their plan. However, just having a plan doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good plan.

With word leaking out that GM Brian Cashman doesn’t quite know his budget yet, with hiring back the same mediocre-at-best manager, with a seemingly stagnant approach to roster-building and investment, we wouldn’t be wrong to question the Yankees’ plans.

When the lockout ends, if the Yankees don’t get a little more aggressive, I think fans will be annoyed and best and downright angry at worst. I did this on the VF314 Twitter account, and I’ll reiterate it here.

I liken where the Yankees are at right now to a particular scene from 2006’s World War Z: The Battle of Yonkers. In it, the soldier narrating is recalling the US Army’s attempt to stop titular zombies at Yonkers. In it, he describes the first plan of attack and how exhilarating it was to see it executed, but that quickly turns to disappointment when the attack isn’t as effective as it could/should be. Sound familiar? But no problem; there’s plenty more where the first came from and it’ll be alright.

Of course, for Todd Wainio and the rest of the Army that day, it would not turn out alright.

The Yankees are at a similar crossroads, though luckily with way less life/death circumstances at stake. What they’ve been doing hasn’t quite worked lately and they need to do something to make a change. There will eventually be time and opportunity to do it. Hopefully, they’re more successful than Yonkers was.


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  1. Looks like a few commenters here forget that the majority of players in MLB will never ever be wealthy. The sentiments in the top half of this thoughts post are obviously meant for those players.

  2. DandyLion

    It’s amazing how many fans side with billionaire owners over the players — the overwhelming majority of whom will leave the game with less than $100k in the bank even if they’re fortunate enough to make the major leagues.
    But I guess the same thing seems to happen in American politics where almost 50% of the country sides with 1%ers against their own interests.
    I’m curious about this phenomenon and disgusted by it simultaneously.
    Hank is acting like the 1%er he is, squeezing all the profits possible from his product and prioritizing more profit over using what should be a giant advantage, as Cohen is now doing across town. And despite leading the Yankees to (so far) their second longest World Series drought, some fans will still try to protect and pad Hank’s pocketbook.

  3. novymir

    I am still reminded of Bill Madden from NY Daily News, and the one dumb owner concept. Outside of Sherzer, I don’t think any of the long term contracts will age well.

    That includes Cole, Lindor, and whatever extension Judge signs

  4. HenryKrinkle

    I’ll revise #1. All of that money comes from you in the end. And players are wealthy as well. You say you can’t blame the player for taking the most money, and that we’d all do it, but they’re in the same 1% that the owners are. It’s wealthy people bickering with super wealthy people about how to divide up money that ultimately comes from your pocket. That’s all it is. You’ll say Hal puts money over winning, but look at the signings so far. Did Seager, Ray, Baez, Semien, put money over winning? Not a peep when a player does that. Look at their earnings prior to those contracts; they were already set, if they’re not complete idiots with their money. “Can’t blame’em”, but when an owner does that, he’s awful. Everyone does the same thing. Money trumps all for you, players, and owners.

    And pretending that the entertainment doesn’t come from the owners, when without owners, there’d be no teams, no stadiums, no tv contracts, is ridiculous. If players thought they could break away and do it all alone, they would in a heartbeat. But they need each other. Look at how Jeter operates now that he’s on the other side. He was a player for 20 years, but acts the same as any owner. You think he’s fighting to pay players more? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. He was super wealthy already, but he wants more, more, more. That’s how it works.

  5. Frank from Elwood

    It’s a battle of the haves and the have more, the losers are the fans, as usual

    • HenryKrinkle

      Yes, and if you think rich athletes care about fans — in the way some here think fans should care about them, or more than owners do — you’re crazy. They’re not your working stiff brethren. They belong to the same elite country club the owners do — and 99% of us aren’t getting in. Both sides will pay lip service to fans as PR strategy, of course, but they know you’ll come back like suckers in the end. If people want the economics to change, stay home, don’t watch, don’t pay attention, get on with your life without them. Vote with your feet and reject them both.

  6. I think the Yankee plan at shortstop is to wait on the two in the minors. Correa would be eaten alive by the fans and, from what I read, the clubhouse. Story played in Denver where the hitting and sea-level have a direct collation. Also, as Derek pointed out , his splits see a big drop off away from Coors Field.

    What I find more alarming than the lack of pre lockout inaction, is hiring another analytics guy as a hitting instructor rather than a proven hitter.

    So in my mind, the 2022 Yankees will be even more boring, strike out more and challenge Baltimore for 4th place.

  7. Mikenyc2007

    Matt- all due respect- if you believe the players should unionize/ remain unionized to get a better deal for themselves, that’s an opinion not a fact (not saying I disagree/ anti trust exemption etc) … my issue is with the generalized “workers unite” statement of your 3rd point- we see in many instances in unionized industries where younger, skilled workers are paid on a lesser scale and are underpaid when compared to people with seniority etc…sounds like MLB, doesn’t it????….Especially since the MLB union has agreed with arbitration/ service time manipulation/domestic draft etc which hold down younger players and their salaries during past negotiations with the net effect of keeping their members (veterans) on the rosters at a higher pay rate than MiLB yet-to-be unionized players… oh, and the union makes noise because noise is free… but remind me when the MLB players union went on strike/didn’t take field etc to support Kris Bryant?

    MLB union is in the business of keeping their members paid as much as possible for as long as possible, without care for the skills of the players being paid, their actual market value or impact to the game so long as their members are getting paid.
    Do you think the union is going on strike to have day games to encourage new fans lol??
    That’s the job of every union. To believe otherwise is just as wrong as to believe the owners can’t spend more/losing money.

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