The owners are meeting, the owners are meeting!

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The most important part of all of this is that Bud Selig and the owners are meeting in some posh resort just outside of Phoenix while most of you are up to your neck in snow. They just don’t care about us fans, do they? Shame. Shame, I say.

Oh, they’re doin’ other stuff too:

MLB owners will begin their two-day quarterly owners meeting today in Paradise Valley, Ariz., with preparation for the upcoming CBA negotiations with the MLBPA again at the top of the agenda. No significant formal action items from the owners are expected, but much like owners meetings throughout ’10, discussion toward the upcoming labor talks will be paramount. The current five-year accord expires after the ’11 season.

For those of you who are growing increasingly disillusioned with what’s going on with the NFL labor talks, know that there is very, very little chance of a work stoppage in baseball.  A deal will be done and it will be pretty painless, mostly because neither the players nor the owners want anything that is anathema to the other.

Yes, we’ve heard that the owners want a slotted drafting system (i.e. where picks gets a set bonus based on where they are selected), and yes, union head Michael Weiner has referred to that as “a salary cap,” and the MLBPA absolutely hates salary caps, so there will likely be some back and forth on that.  But at the end of the day, union members have never really had a problem throwing non-members under the bus, and I suspect they’ll do so in this instance, even if the union leadership is philosophically opposed to it.  Same with the international draft if that becomes a part of collective bargaining.

I think both of those things are bad ideas, but the players aren’t going to risk a work stoppage to fight for them. Instead, they’ll simply extract some concessions from the owners to make them happen. Perhaps the removal of draft pick compensation or at least a revamping of it.  Probably a substantial raise in the minimum salary, which will assuage players’ guilt over caving in on slotting.  Some other things.

Basically, though, the owners and the players have realized that sixteen years of labor peace has been outrageously good for their bottom line.  No one is going to the mattresses over anything in play this time around.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves