Adam Wainwright on possible strike: 'I'm worried people will walk out midseason'

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright became the latest player to forecast a “doom and gloom” outlook for Major League Baseball based on the growing financial and philosophical disconnect between the players and the owners.

The sentiment that a strike will happen is one we’ve become accustomed to hearing from the players. However, Wainwright framed the situation with a little more urgency on Friday by expressing concerns that a day of reckoning could happen sooner than later.

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Speaking to’s Tim McKernan, Wainwright said it was inevitable that the players will go on strike unless major changes are made to help bridge the widening gap. But he’s also worried that frustrations could reach a boiling point during the season leading to some form of a revolt. Perhaps even a mid-season walkout.

“Unless something changes, there’s going to be a strike. 100%,” Wainwright said regarding the free-agent freeze that has left stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado without contracts. “I’m just worried people are going to walkout midseason.”

Could a mid-season walkout actually happen?

It’s conceivable given the current climate, but a players revolt on that level still feels like a long shot. The target date we should all still be looking at is Dec. 1, 2021. That’s when the current collective bargaining agreement ends and the owners will be forced to come to the table.

That doesn’t mean we should just dismiss Wainwright’s concerns about a 2019 strike. While they might feel a little on the dramatic side, the frustration that has built all offseason as dozens of free agents, including and especially Harper and Machado, remain unsigned is becoming more palpable by the day. There’s a genuine feeling that owners are determined to cut back on salaries even as profits continue to reach new heights, it’s possible the players’ patience will run out if the free-agent freeze continues to drag on.

Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright expresses worry that the players could walkout during the season if issues with the owners aren't fixed. (AP)
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright expresses worry that the players could walkout during the season if issues with the owners aren’t fixed. (AP)

Are analytics playing a role?

Wainwright thinks so, and he’s far from alone.

In Friday’s interview, the 37-year-old right-hander also criticized owners and front offense personnel for placing too much emphasis on “analytics” and placing everything in a “sabermetric box” that discounts intangibles and other immeasurable aspects of baseball.

Wainwright admitted that there’s always risk in making long-term financial commitments to players, but emphasized that doing so marks a commitment to winning that several teams seemingly lack.

“Part of it is smart from their side of it, but you have to realize it’s about winning. So, if Bryce Harper wants 10 years and he’s 26 years old. He’s going to be a dynamic player. The same can be said about Manny Machado. These guys are superstar players.”

The deeper we get into it the more obvious it is that the players know what battles lie ahead. The only real question is how much worse it will get before any progress is made toward a satisfactory resolution.

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