Wednesday Newsletter time: New Texas Rangers infielder Marcus Semien weighs in on MLB lockout
The second baseman is part of the union's executive board and a longtime player rep who also just signed a seven-year, $175 million deal.
When the Texas Rangers signed Marcus Semien to be their second baseman, they knew they were getting an All-Star player who had just launched 45 home runs and is a respected clubhouse leader.
They also knew that they signed the player who would serve as the team’s representative to the players association. It’s a role he cherishes.
Semien is one of eight players who serve on the executive board of the players association. After his introductory press conference Dec. 1, he headed to meetings in Las Colinas in the waning hours before the deadline to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement.
The owners and players never came close, and the owners quickly locked out the players.
And nothing has changed.
However, Semien expects things to start rolling next week after the holidays.
He recently was a guest on the Chris Rose Rotation podcast, along with player reps Zack Britton and Lucas Giolito, on a episode geared toward informing about the lockout. Semien said he’s optimistic there will be a 2022 season, but the sides must first resume bargaining.
“What’s the path to a deal? Negotiating is the path, right? This is collective bargaining, so that’s what we’re waiting on,” he said. “Once these holidays pass by, January is a huge month. As a baseball player, it’s the most important time to train and get into spring training and prepare for a marathon, a long season that we all want to happen.
“If we can get on these calls and bargain instead of waiting, I think we have a good chance. We’re all optimistic that we’re going to have a season, but we need the path to a deal to start now.”
Semien was part of a free-agency frenzy in the days leading up to the lockout as he signed a seven-year, $175 million deal. One of the players’ main grievances is making sure all teams are competitive on the field and thus in free agency.
“It’s very important for free agents to have as many choices as they can possibly have,” Semien said. “You look at post-2020, there were not too many teams shopping in the free-agent market. After a full season in 2021, you see these new teams surprising people because they’re spending, but that’s the way the system is supposed to be.
“The more teams that are in it the better. This year was a good start. If you look at the deals that were signed, we still feel like there are more people who should be signed and making more.”
New COVID protocols for 2022?
The owners and players have bigger fish to fry than the COVID-19 policies for the 2022 season. As Semien noted, they actually have to negotiate for there to be a 2022 season.
Once that’s done, dealing with COVID will again be a priority. Teams in the NBA, NFL and NHL have been hit hard by the latest variant, and so have college football and basketball teams.
However, the NFL has changed its COVID safety guidelines as the CDC has changed its guidelines.
The CDC reduced the recommended quarantine from 10 days to five days. The NFL adopted that policy, so players who test positive on a Monday could play on Sunday.
Just in time for the playoffs, too.
It would seem, then, that the other pro sports leagues would follow suit. Baseball teams would still have to make a series of roster moves as they play just about every day, but shortening the isolation period would also help things on the back end.
Pitchers can’t just take 10 days off and jump back into their role. They have to be built back up and then might not be able to pitch as long as they did pre-COVID, especially starting pitchers.
With the vaccine not preventing the spread of COVID but minimizing the effects on those who get it, the CDC’s change was overdue. I would expect MLB to follow suit.
There will be no new episode of the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast this week, as John Moore and I take it easy-ish between holidays.
However, we will be back the first week of the new year with a fresh episode. We have a strong lead on our first guest for 2022.
Also, we are considering trying a live Twitter Q&A for me and John at a time to be determined in early January. We’re not going to do it if no one is going to hop on, so let us know if this is something that might interest you.
Maybe we can grab a guest for that, too.
Anyhoo, the podcast’s week off gives you a chance to catch up on our year-ending episode with Dustin Harris, Rangers Minor League Player of the Year. The Spotify link is right here.
Give this one a few more years, pup. It’ll be worth the wait. Enjoy. See you Thursday.