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Monday, October 3, 2022

Busy MLB offseason sets up questions moving forward

Signings, awards and labor battles have summed up this MLB offseason

By GABRIEL CARABALLO — sports@theaggie.org

One, two, three strikes and you’re locked out? Major League Baseball (MLB), America’s pastime, has seen a fair share of home runs and strikeouts since the 2021 season ended with newly crowned champions, award winners and a free agency frenzy storming the league. Then suddenly, seemingly out of left field but a long time in the making, a bombshell shook the baseball world. Robert Manfred’s, MLB’s commissioner, released a statement implementing a lockout in early December, the first in 26 years. 

The Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves, two exceptional baseball clubs, battled it out in the 2021 World Series. After six hard-fought games, Major League Baseball’s 2021 World Series title and trophy belonged to the Atlanta Braves, beating the Astros four games to two — even blowing them out in the final game 7-0. Right-fielder Jorge Soler won the World Series MVP, by contributing three home runs, six RBI’s and a 1.191OPS. 

With an awards list as long as a single game, one MVP down and more to go. The ALCS MVP was given to designated hitter Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros, for his incredible stat line consisting of a .315BA, two home runs and nine RBI’s, that helped the Astros get to the World Series. The NLCS MVP was awarded to Eddie Rosario, left fielder for the Atlanta Braves — who’s stats speak for themself: a .383 BA, 11 RBI’s and three dingers, Rosario greatly assisted the Braves World Series Championship run with timely hits and defensive plays. 

The Cy Young awards, a heavily contested award, were given to Robbie Ray of the Toronto Blue Jays and Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers. Ray impressively threw 248 strikeouts leading the league and had an ERA of 2.84. Burnes threw for 234 strikeouts, but led the league in ERA with 2.43. Both players deserved to win these awards based on their stats alone, with others closely behind who fell just short.

Wrapping up the awards list with the two most valuable players from each league. Bryce Harper, of the Philadelphia Phillies won the MVP of the National League, hitting 35 homers with a batting average of .309. The American League MVP went to none other than standout Shohei Otani of the Anaheim Angels, serving up 46 home runs and 100 RBIs. These are two of the most exciting players to watch and both are well deserving of MVP and could be contenders for next season’s as well.  

Speaking of next season, many clubs have already upgraded their rosters before the news of the lockout came. A few notable signings came by the way of the Mets, Rangers and Mariners. The Mets signed star pitcher Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million contract and the Rangers signed one of the best shortstops, Corey Seager to a 10-year, $325 million deal. While the Mariners capitalized on pitcher Robbie Ray, signing him for five-years at $15 million. With free agency splashes like these, there’s a lot to look forward to next season. 

However, many are worried if there will even be a season or to what capacity. While in the midst of free agency, the baseball world came to a standstill, quite literally. With a statement sent by commissioner Manfred, declaring a lockout, in response to the expiring CBA and no sign of an agreement with the Players Association. 

The commissioner regards the lockout as, “the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season…” Explaining that it, “was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.” 

The commissioner seems to be putting the blame onto the Players Association, using competition as base — a low blow considering the players help make the sport competitive. 

Similarly, the Players Association released a statement as well countering the claim made by the commissioner. Stating the owners made the decision to, “pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just players, but the game and industry as a whole.”

This was a rather chilling statement to be released by the Players Association whose argument seems to be that the owners are using their positions to extort the players. It’s now transparent that there is one canyon-sized rift between the MLB and the MLBPA. However, we won’t fully know what each side wants until more information is released. 

Will this delay the 2022 season? How will this affect the already signed free agents? Is Spring Training going to happen on time? These are all valid questions regarding America’s favorite pastime and with seemingly no agreement, not even a twinkle in the eye, in sight fans will have to wait and see what baseball in 2022 may or may not be. 

Written by: Gabriel Caraballo — sports@theaggie.org

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