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  • Writer's pictureJack Vita

2021 MLB lockout: Tracking labor dispute, MLB free agent signings prior to stoppage

As of midnight Thursday, Major League Baseball has its first work stoppage since 1994-95.

Hours before the MLB lockout, Ryan Pacatte visited the Jack Vita Show to discuss the ongoing labor negotiations and a flurry of free agent signing prior to Thursday's deadline.

The lockout was an inevitably. Until a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is met, there can be no free agent signings or trades. The deadline for the MLB Players Association and owners to reach an agreement essentially functioned as another trade deadline (that included free agent signings). Unknowing how long it will be until both parties reach an agreement and offseason activity can resume as scheduled, players, agents and front office executives worked quickly to get deals done before Wednesday night's deadline.

Though a number of high-profile free agents such as Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, Trevor Story and Clayton Kershaw remain unsigned heading into the work stoppage, several stars were able to cash in before Thursday's deadline.

The Texas Rangers spent $500 million on their middle infield, securing 2021 AL MVP finalist Marcus Semien and 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager for the next seven-plus years. They also gave pitcher Jon Gray a four-year, $56 million contract.

Mets owner Steve Cohen is spending big. A year after trading for Francisco Lindor and locking him up to a 10-year extension, the Mets have added Max Scherzer, Mark Canha and Starling Marte. Scherzer's three-year, $130 million will give him the richest AAV in baseball history.

The Detroit Tigers signed Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez. The Mariners signed reigning AL Cy Young Robbie Ray, and the Blue Jays replaced Ray with Kevin Gaussman. The Angels picked up Noah Syndergaard and extended Raisel Iglesias.

Some of the sport's annual biggest spenders (Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, Red Sox) were largely quiet prior to Wednesday's deadline. Many believe that it's due in part to the unknowns with the next CBA. What will the luxury tax threshold be? Will there be a universal designated hitter?

In a special live show hours before the lockout deadline, Ryan Pacatte and Jack assess the current free agent market and share their thoughts on the biggest moves of the offseason thus far. They also discuss the state of the league's labor negotiations and what changes they expect to see in the next CBA. Will the DH come to the National League? How will service time manipulation be addressed Will there be a salary floor requiring teams to spend a minimum amount each year? Jack and Ryan attempt to answer all these questions, and more!

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For more sports and entertainment analysis, follow me on Twitter @JackVitaShow, and subscribe to the Jack Vita Show on iTunes or wherever podcasts are found.

(Photos via AP Photos/Charles Rex Arbogast and AP Photos/Richard W. Rodriguez)


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