Well, it did not happen. The Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners could not agree on a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement. The lack of a deal for now will have a huge impact on the minor leagues. Some will be felt immediately, while others could take a while to reach fruition.
The immediate impact is that the minor league players on the 40-man roster still cannot report to Mesa and they are still forbidden from working out at the team’s facilities. Most were going to be in the major league camp anyway, but now they will have to play catch-up with their MiLB teammates if and when a deal gets done.
When real spring training games were to begin at some point next week, I was expecting to see a lot of minor league pitchers get some looks against major league hitters. We should have seen Caleb Kilian, Ryan Jensen, Cam Sanders, Riley Thompson, DJ Herz, Max Bain, Daniel Palencia, and Chris Clarke get a spot start or two or they could have gone an inning or two piggybacking. That’s not happening now.
Bullpen prospects would have been equally as important and maybe Ben Leeper, Dakota Mekkes, Cayne Ueckert, Ethan Roberts, and Zac Leigh could have seen substantial time. Maybe even Burl Carraway, Cayne Ueckert, and Brandon Hughes could have got in some looks.
At this point, I wonder if Marquee will broadcast some MiLB spring training games just to have some programming. It would be awesome to get our first looks of the year at Brennen Davis, Pete Crow-Armstrong, and Cristian Hernandez. All of us here at North Side Bound would be down for that.
I would not be surprised to see the major league beat writers stay in Arizona for a while and cover the minor league guys. Maddie Lee of the Sun-Times, Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, Lance Brozdowski of Marquee, and Jordan Bastian of MLB.com have already interviewed and profiled several prospects this week. That should continue for the foreseeable future.
As for the Draft, the rules stay the same for now with no date set for it to take place. The same is true for international free agency. However, if negotiations are any indication, an international draft is on the horizon. Another big impact of the lack of a CBA is that the Rule 5 Draft has been postponed again.
So, with those things in mind, minor league baseball is all we have for right now.
The Iowa Cubs kick off their season on April 5 while Tennessee, South Bend, and Myrtle Beach kick off on Friday the 8th.