Spare Parts: In case the lockout actually ends today

Major League Baseball removed games from the schedule, but it technically has not yet cancelled games, or shortened the season otherwise.

MLB keeps setting deadlines for a 162-game schedule, but those deadlines keep proving inessential. For what it’s worth, the latest one is 2 p.m. CT, and players are voting on the proposal now. For those who care about the particulars — and I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t — here’s where the key elements have shifted:

The latest wrench was MLB’s attempt to attach the international draft to the elimination of the qualifying offer, and after 18 hours of friction, it appears the MLBPA was able to stiff-arm the league’s advances. The contract would allow the sides until July to create a working draft starting in 2024, and if talks fall through, the qualifying offer would be reinstated the following winter.

And should the union accept this proposal, free agency would start tonight.

I’m hesitant to write anything that attempts to summarize the negotiations further. While we wait, enjoy some unrelated content.

Spare Parts

Luis Mieses didn’t make my top 10 White Sox prospects list (or the honorable mentions) because he struggles against left-handed pitching and doesn’t have great discipline at the plate, so a couple of difficult improvements remain between him and even a more modest future as a corner platoon bat. That said, the improvements he made last year — generating some power without losing his above-average ability to make contact — show that he’s capable of closing a gap, so he has my attention in 2022. James Fegan’s profile describes a guy who wants to be as comfortable as Eloy Jiménez when cameras are on him.

Half an answer to a good White Sox trivia question — “Who did the White Sox receive from the Marlins for Ozzie Guillen?” — is back in the organization. Jhan Mariñez appeared in two games for the White Sox in 2012 and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2018, but he’s still kicking, so the White Sox are kicking the tires.

(Ozzie Martinez was the other player sent by Florida.)

While I was irritated that the White Sox’s biggest investment of the 2021-21 offseason was a closer, at least it shouldn’t be affected by a shorter spring training. If he gets off to a wobbly start, nobody can say that he couldn’t ramp up to his usual inning of work.

Thanks to three months of inactivity due to the lockout, FanGraphs is back to issuing a public appeal for memberships, as the lack of offseason activity has greatly diminished site traffic. It had to conduct a membership drive during the early stages of the pandemic, and now it’s doing so again.

A couple days earlier, Amanda Mull, who covers consumerism for The Atlantic, wrote about how subscription services are getting tiresome, especially for things that naturally wouldn’t be forced into monthly or quarterly boxes.

Both are relevant to Sox Machine’s existence. Ad revenue has suffered greatly here as you’d might expect, but that’s not as critical of a blow. Ads weren’t an original part of the revenue model, and thanks to the aforementioned double whammy of traffic-killing developments so far this decade, I haven’t felt comfortable enough in projecting revenue to spend it.

Subscriptions remain the backbone of this site, and between the subscription fatigue that Mull wrote about and MLB’s piss-poor approach to keeping fans, I’d anticipated taking a hit over the course of the lockout. I wouldn’t blame anybody if they looked at their budgets and decided to slash baseball-related expenses.

Instead, Sox Machine has gained supporters over the last three months, with many people upping their memberships. That I did not see coming. It’s an honor, it floors me, and hopefully we’ll be able to make it worth your while with actual baseball news.

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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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roke1960

Sure looks like an agreement is imminent. It sure seems like a rush to get the season started though- ST games start March 17, season starts April 5. But I guess both sides want 162 games. They will certainly have to allow at least a 28-man roster through the first several weeks. I could see a bunch of injuries from guys getting ready in an abnormally quick manner.

jorgefabregas

Mariñez played on the Dominican team that won a Broze medal at the 2020 Olympics (which were played in 2021).

Last edited 3 months ago by jorgefabregas
dwjm3

I just hope we land somebody of real value as free agency reopens.

itaita

Time to brush up on the current closer market.

roke1960

Sign Conforto and Rodon. Then trade Kimbrel for McNeil. That would put a nice bow on the offseason.

Trooper Galactus

Look, I could be completely misreading the market, but I think any attempt to get value out of Kimbrel short of a straight-up salary dump (or dead money swap) in a trade borders on delusional.

Augusto Barojas

Exactly. They had better do something, the gaping holes we saw last October are still there, no change.

Joliet Orange Sox

I love the fact that the owners still think an artificial deadline is a solid move in a CBA negotiation.

roke1960

We have a deal!!!

Joliet Orange Sox

It seems the players have voted to accept the owners’ latest proposal but did so after 3 pm eastern time. I wonder if the owners will refuse the players acceptance because it came after the deadline. Otherwise the deadline was meaningless posturing and that doesn’t seem like something the owners would do.

Augusto Barojas

Really surprised it came together. A couple weeks ago I thought there was a real chance they’d miss 1/4 of a season or more. Now we will see a frenzy of free agent signings, hopefully Reinsdorf will get his head out of his ass and let Hahn do something. If Graveman is their lone signing, I can’t say I will be eager to attend any games.

itaita

Nice to see the stupid extra inning rules are going away. Not a big fan of the expanded playoffs but whatever.

joewho112

9 inning double headers are back and we’ll be getting a bunch to make up for missed games

As Cirensica

The Manfred man is gone? I hated it that. I wasn’t fond of the 7 innings double headers either.

As Cirensica

Happy to hear you are getting increased membership. The time is ripped for you as the White Sox are finally entertaining for a few more years at least. Best of luck with the site. I’ll stick around. I won’t miss your White Sox wins the World Series post for nothing in this world.

jhomeslice

An agreement, was not expecting. Now if only the war in Ukraine can end soon, I would give anything to see that. Praying for those people.

As Cirensica

Is it gonna be a 162 games season or a shorter one?

GrinnellSteve

162.

As Cirensica

Can I have a hallelujah?

All these nonsensical deadlines and all the hoopla, and we still get the 162 games season

GrinnellSteve

One thing I like is they’ll simply have to have larger rosters at first in order to mitigate injuries. That could give some guys opportunities to show their stuff.

roke1960

Owners vote to ratify at 6pm tonight. Free agency opens immediately after. Get out the checkbook, Jerry!!

Josh Nelson

For clarification, that’s 6 pm EST / 5 pm CST.

Chaos could re-start within 2 hours!

GrinnellSteve

Won’t it be a pisser if they don’t approve the agreement? It ain’t over ’til it’s over!

Ted Mulvey

Is this where I go for the “baseball is back!” open thread?

As Cirensica

Vacation is over Jim. Let the boy know that competition for dad’s attention has arrived.

Last edited 3 months ago by As Cirensica
joewho112

Interesting:

the MLBPA agreed to grant the commissioner the ability to implement a pitch clock, larger bases, and restrictions on the shift for the 2023 season with less offseason notice than previously allowed (45 days compared to a year), per Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/what-banning-the-shift-does-and-does-not-accomplish/

joewho112

Is Joey Gallo still a free agent?

vanillablue

Now that the lockout is over (!) I hope that the baseball media will reflect a little on the role they played in empowering the owners. As Jim has said, it’s been interesting to see how uniformly pro-player the media coverage has been. To be clear, I’m totally anti-owner in all of this and was glad to see the coverage reflect (for the most part) the reality of the situation – owners were just trying to break the union. I’m also a big fan of statistically oriented approaches to baseball as it adds a lot to understanding and enjoying the game.

But the newer-school, statistically oriented media has really supported the owner’s desire to hold down salaries and decrease players’ power in other ways (in my opinion). Look no further than tanking. The Astros and Cubs were pretty much universally praised for tanking multiple seasons by the likes of FanGraphs (and more mainstream media), and it’s gotten to the point where actually expecting that your team try to win is viewed as naive. Once it became clear that teams *don’t even have to try to win*, of course it reinforced the power differential between owners and players in the owner’s favor. In general, it feels like fans have completely bought into the owner’s narrative that the goal should be to minimize costs by doing things like manipulating service time, not paying veteran salaries, treating relievers as interchangeable spare parts, etc, etc. The media has played a big role in developing these conditions, which ultimately empowered the owners to carry out a destructive lockout. Pro-player coverage after the lockout began doesn’t entirely make up for creating the conditions that led to the lockout in the first place.

Anyway, this isn’t targeted at Jim (or White Sox blogs in general), but it would be nice to see more balanced coverage going forward.

ForsterFTOG

Media’s fault?
Wow.

Patrick

Jim your site continues to grow because you are the best Sox writer around! You deserve the success and I hope it continues! Go Sox

SoxExile

I subscribed a couple of months ago, breaking my otherwise ironclad rule against internet subscriptions. Why? Because Jim provides so much in exchange for requesting so little. Besides, we have to take care of our own

Trooper Galactus

Happy to have been a supporter from the relaunch! Keep the hits coming, guys!