Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen had a candid moment during Saturday’s FanFest at Dodger Stadium. According to a report from Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Jansen broached the idea of a players’ strike, telling the crowd, “Maybe we have to go on strike, to be honest with you.” His full comments are below:
That is something we might have to address, so you don’t have a lot of Miami Marlins doing this. Maybe it’s an adjustment for us, as the players’ union. Maybe we have to go on strike, to be honest with you. That’s how I feel about it. Maybe I could say that, for me, maybe we should go on strike and fix that. Maybe not. I think it’s a thing we maybe address that to the union. I’m not going to say that to you guys. I’m going to have that talk to the union, and we’ll see how it goes from there.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of players’ dissatisfaction with the excruciatingly slow pace of the offseason. The exact culprit remains unclear, though everything from teams gutting their rosters for drastic rebuilds to outright collusion has been hinted at, with no clear evidence to support the latter. On Thursday, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan mentioned that several free agents were considering staging their own spring training camp this year, assuming the market continues to stall over the next two months. This appears to be the first time a player has spoken openly about the possibility of a strike, however, which puts a decidedly more serious spin on recent events.
Jansen was quick to walk back the comments, saying it was something he should first discuss with the union, but it’s not hard to believe that others might be feeling the same way — especially those who fall within the pool of MLB’s 100+ unsigned free agents. Shaikin speculates that any potential strike would likely be delayed for three years, as the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in 2021. While there’s still hope that the stalemate will be broken in advance of spring training — in a way that’s fair to the players, that is — the longer it drags on, the more desperate reactions it’s going to elicit from players and teams alike.