The baseball world should "get ready for days, weeks and (gulp) months" of MLB and the MLBPA "presenting their versions of the truth and blaming each other for all that ails the sport," according to Ken Rosenthal of THE ATHLETIC. The players and owners are "not even talking about the one issue that might matter most to fans, rules adjustments intended to improve the on-field product." It is "about money." It is "always about money." Rosenthal: "No matter how anyone frames it, no matter what anyone says" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/3).
ZERO-SUM GAME: Free agent P and union exec committee member Andrew Miller said of the owners, "It seems like it’s a zero-sum game on their part. It’s more about them winning than all of us winning. It’s no secret, we’re attempting to correct the market manifestations that they’ve taken advantage of. In collective bargaining, it takes two sides to make a deal. One is ready -- us" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/4).
BAD OPTICS FOR PLAYERS: In N.Y., Bill Madden wrote the lockout is "another self-inflicted wound for the game struggling to maintain its fan appeal," and for the players it is "especially bad optics to now being insistent on blowing up the system ... after just reaping a $1.7 billion haul of free agent contracts" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/4). In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes wrote players "may be unhappy with the current system," but it is "a system their leaders signed off on time and time again" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/5).
WINS AND LOSSES: On Long Island, David Lennon wrote MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is one of the "losers" of pre-lockout free agency. For now, Manfred looks like "baseball’s grim reaper, killing all that giddy transactional fun of the past few weeks and trying to sell us on the 'defensive' measures necessary to save the sport" (NEWSDAY, 12/5).