Major League Baseball "appears almost certain" to enter a work stoppage upon the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
The current CBA expires at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1.
MLB and the players association have been in negotiations on a new CBA in recent months, with the league making its first economic proposal in August. That offer reportedly included a payroll "floor" for teams as well as a luxury tax threshold ($180 million) lower than the past five seasons, including 2021 ($210 million).
According to Blum, "each side thinks the other has not made proposals that will lead toward an agreement."
However, in a recent interview with NBC Sports Chicago, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf pointed out the general truism that it often takes a deadline for negotiations to produce results.
“Look, these deals get made the last week,” Reinsdorf said. “It’s the same thing with players’ contracts in arbitration. They all settle the last day.”
There's also the chance MLB and the players association extend the deadline and continue negotiations rather than enter a lockout.
MLB has had eight work stoppages in its history, most recently in 1994/95, when a players strike and ensuing lockout lasted for 7 1/2 months — cancelling the 1994 postseason and affecting the start of the 1995 season.
Whether there is a work stoppage come December, the uncertainty around the CBA figures to impact free agency, which begins shortly after the World Series. Teams won't be certain what the next agreement will look like.
"The CBA is going to have a significant impact on 30 teams’ decision-making,” Cubs president Jed Hoyer said in September.
MLB and the players association agreed to a new CBA hours before the deadline during the last negotiation in 2016.