CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds say they are "disappointed" about Major League Baseball's lockout, but added optimism that the work stoppage does not mean games will be canceled.
Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport's collective bargaining agreement expired, and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training, roster moves and, possibly, Opening Day.
In a letter to fans, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said, "We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players’ association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”
Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994.
The Reds issued a statement on its website in response to the lockout.
"The purpose of taking this step now is to accelerate the urgency needed to reach an agreement as quickly as possible," the statement read, in part.
The strategy, management's equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport's labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years. Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage.
The lockout does not allow teams to make any roster moves until it is resolved.
The league also canceled its annual winter meetings in Florida for the second year in a row.
Players are also banned from team workout facilities and weight rooms.
Here is the full statement from the Cincinnati Reds:
Despite best efforts to reach an agreement, the current CBA has expired and Major League Baseball has been forced to commence a defensive lockout of Major League players. Like all of Reds Country, as an organization we are disappointed.
To be clear, this does not mean games will be canceled. The purpose of taking this step now is to accelerate the urgency needed to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. MLB is offering solutions aimed to address the Players Association’s stated concerns in a manner that is fair to both sides, improves competitive balance on the field so every team has a chance to compete, and improves and preserves our game.
Until an agreement is reached, we are not permitted to make any Major League roster moves. While MLB works around the clock to find common ground with the Players Association, our work to strengthen our ballclub for the long-term continues. We will continue to invest heavily in our minor league system and remain committed to our plan of developing the young talent you soon will see playing in Cincinnati.
We appreciate the continued support and we very much look forward to seeing you again at Great American Ball Park in 2022.