We’re nearing the 25th anniversary of the baseball strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series, and according to one active player, MLB is at risk of having its players strike again.
Speaking with “The Morning After” radio show in St. Louis on Friday, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said that if things don’t change regarding MLB free agency, then there’s a “100 percent” chance that a strike will happen.
“Unless something changes, there’s going to be a strike, 100 percent,” the three-time All-Star said. “I just worry that people are going to walk out midseason.”
MLB free agency has been a hot topic all offseason, even more so now that pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training.
Two of the game’s biggest stars, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, are still unsigned with the regular season set to start in little more than a month.
Wainwright believes sabermetrics have overly influenced MLB teams when it comes to signing free agents, and that if a player doesn’t check every single box that a team is looking for, then they will pass on signing him.
“You got one of the best players in the game that needs a job and no one is signing him,” Wainwright said of Harper. “You’ve got 30 owners who have a sabermetric box that they will sign people when they are in that box. They don’t take any intangibles or anything else into play.”
“It’s all about numbers, he said. “That’s a sad thing.”
The 1994 strike was due in part to the collective bargaining agreement having expired on Dec. 31, 1993.
The owners’ attempts to implement a salary cap didn’t help either, as the players saw no benefit to there being a cap.
This time around, the CBA runs through 2021 and MLB still doesn’t have a salary cap. But the free agency stalemate on superstar players like Harper and Machado has infuriated many players, including those already under contract.
Earlier this week, Astros pitcher Justin Verlander called the free-agency system “broken” due to the fact that so many quality players remain unsigned.
With no salary cap in baseball, there is theoretically no limit to what teams can offer players.
But teams aren’t making those offers even though they are well below the $206 million luxury tax.
A midseason walkout would definitely upset the fans and be bad for baseball, but it remains to be seen if the players will feel as though it’s the only way to force changes.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.