Major League Baseball's first work stoppage since the 1994-95 players' strike is "almost certain" to start in December, Ronald Bloom of the Associated Press reported over the weekend.
According to Bloom, the league and the MLB Players' Association are not expected to have a new CBA finalized by the December 1 deadline, which could freeze the free-agent market and potentially stall the start of the 2022 season. Negotiations have been taking place since last spring with little headway being made.
Fear of a lockout has grown in recent weeks with reports surfacing that the MLB winter meetings, scheduled around the time the CBA expires, are no longer a certainty.
I’m hearing as a prelude to a likely lockout by the owners Dec. 1, the winter meetings in Orlando are being cancelled— billmadden1954 (@bmadden1954) October 24, 2021
A pending work stoppage and stall to the start of next season will likely "cause high-spending clubs to delay reaching pricier player agreements," Bloom reported.
Payroll remains the biggest sticking point in the negotiations. Teams have proposed a lower luxury tax threshold and a payroll floor, which players have long been against for fear it will lead to an MLB salary cap.
MLB seasons were interrupted eight times by work stoppages between 1972 and 1995 and almost again in 2002 before an agreement was made less than five hours before players were due to go on strike.
The players' strike in 1994-95 stretched for seven-and-a-half months and wiped out the World Series that season.