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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.