MLB Lockdown Rules Regarding Player Communication Put Managers In A Sticky Position

Baseball celebrates the three-week anniversary of a dubious achievement of going from an intense free agency buzz to being out of sight and out of the minds of some fans due to the first offseason lockdown of his professional history.

There are several bizarre aspects of the lockout. Teams are trying to move 2022 plans forward in ways allowed, like signing players into deals with minor leagues that don’t put them on the 40-player roster and finalizing the coaching staff.

Then there are the even weirder aspects such as not being able to chat about your players and this has happened twice in the past two days when Buck Showalter and Aaron Boone spoke to the media for talks about radically different virtual press. While the two discussed major topics such as Showalter getting the job with the Mets and Boone discussing his coaching staff, they also encountered the embarrassment of not being able to discuss the players on their 40-man roster, putting them in the midst of problems. between players and owners.

“I don’t like it,” Boone said Wednesday. “I certainly miss it, especially with a lot of our players who we’ve been together with for years, with whom you have such a strong relationship and history now. Yeah, it sucks that you can’t communicate with them, even on everyday things.

Showalter’s virtual press conference was an introduction after he was named manager of the Mets to become the fifth to pilot the two New York teams. It was the latest in a busy offseason for the Mets, who signed Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha on stand-alone agent contracts worth a total of around $ 255 million.

Everyone knows the Mets added these players, especially since all four were introduced in a virtual setting shortly before MLB went dark by removing photos of current players from its website in citing legal reasons, but until the lockdown is resolved, they cannot exist in public settings for managers. , many of whom are former major leaguers and members of the players’ association.

And Showalter delivered a home run of a press conference, which is hardly surprising. He even had a fun, if not awkward, moment when he started mentioning a few new players by name before realizing he had to talk more generally about the roster he would end up managing.

“You look at Marte and Eduardo, and obviously I can’t name names, so I’m going to shut up. I just like the way they handled their (offseason), ”Showalter said. “The people they added would also have been people I was interested in.”

Hours after Showalter spoke about his vision, embracing the analysis, the Yankees officially announced their full coaching staff for manager Aaron Boone’s fifth season and first on a new contract announced in mid-October.

Boone spoke to a less crowded virtual media group on Wednesday about his new coaches, but midway through the session he was asked about various players, not someone new since the Yankees haven’t added an agent. Free from the major league before the lockout but a group of current players are recovering from injuries.

This includes DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Hicks and Jameson Taillon.

LeMahieu underwent hernia surgery on October 12, Hicks played winter ball in the Dominican Republic recovering from a May 26 procedure to repair a torn tendon in his right hand, and Taillon is recovering from his surgery in the Dominican Republic. tendon of the right ankle on October 28.

Until the lockdown began at midnight on December 2, Boone and any other manager could interact with his players and get direct updates. Now they can’t do that due to the MLB directive that ordered teams not to contact players on the 40-player rosters.

“I don’t have any contact with them so I don’t know,” Boone said Wednesday.

Unless Boone receives recovery updates through his players’ social media accounts, he will have no idea of ​​recovering injured players until a deal is reached and a version of spring training begins.

“We tried to put our guys in the best position when it comes to our coaches at the time, having these conversations and putting plans in place as December 1 approaches,” Boone said. “I hope to set them up with programs and things that they can follow and be in a good position once this is all sorted out, but we haven’t had any contact. Obviously, it’s not ideal that we may not have that touch and know how everyone is going to do it, but we should have a decent idea in these early days of what we’re dealing with.

In other words, because of the guidelines, the players are out of sight and out of the mind of their teams. It’s a situation that puts managers, most of whom are former players at some level, in a sticky situation of not being able to publicly discuss their current players until the parties work out their various differences. which hopefully starts happening in January.

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