The stakes from Major League Baseball’s lockout of its players are intriguing for the Toronto Blue Jays, a team striving to continue its recent ascendency and re-establish its business after an extended pandemic displacement.
Clearly, how the sport’s economic framework changes in the next collective bargaining agreement is of pivotal importance, especially with discussions around arbitration, free agency and service time potentially impacting how cornerstones like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette are compensated and controlled contractually.
But there are other implications for the club from the sport’s first interruption since the players strike of 1994 – a dispute that badly impacted the Blue Jays – well beyond that, too.
Here’s a look at some local considerations amid an industry-wide dispute:
• Virtually every player in the majors is going through a labour interruption for the first time and it’s sure to colour their outlook moving forward. Ross Stripling is the club’s player-union rep along with alternates Randal Grichuk and Cavan Biggio and they regularly update their teammates via a 40-man group chat about the latest happenings. Biggio’s dad Craig and Bichette’s dad Dante were both part of the ’94 strike so they have some direct connection to labour conflict, but living it firsthand is another matter. The Blue Jays sought to make their player-development complex a year-round home for players, but now anyone on the 40-man roster is barred from using it, with access to other club services also cut off. Anyone who had been working at the pitching and recently completed hitting lab must now continue their training elsewhere.