Issues relevant to the Orioles in the labor dispute

As the Major League Baseball lockout continues with no sign of serious negotiations, let’s review some of the main issues and how they might be relevant to the Orioles.

Service time

The Major League Baseball Players Association wants to end manipulation of service time, and to get younger players paid earlier.

While most attention is on the huge contracts given to superstars, and they are getting larger, the average salary of players dropped from 2019 to 2021. The average salary is $4.1 million,and the median salary is about $1.15 million.

Because many teams are getting younger, particularly the Orioles, they’re getting paid less. The Players Association wants to see more of that money go to younger players.

The top tier of players has no problem getting long-term contracts, but the second- and third-tier players have found few takers in free agency, especially if they’re over 30.

A player can become a free agent after six seasons. In the Orioles’ case, should the new Collective Bargaining Agreement not change the service time provision, the Orioles could prevent top prospect Adley Rutschman from reaching free agency until after the 2027 season by keeping him in the minor leagues for a short time to begin this season.

The owners have proposed eliminating service time and using age 29 ½ as a free-agent trigger. Players would like to see free agency after five seasons instead of six. That seems unlikely to happen and could…

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