How Potential MLB Lockout Could Impact Seiya Suzuki’s Path From Japan

Suzuki was posted to MLB teams Nov. 22

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This has been a busy week already for Major League Baseball with the frenzy of free agents agreeing to contracts, but it could become busier (and messier) in the coming days.

A potential lockout is looming and could come Dec. 1 when the collective bargaining agreement expires. According to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale, both MLB and its Players’ Association met for about 30 minutes Tuesday, which does not indicate a good sign of getting a new CBA done.

A lockout could impact a lot of things: The start of spring training, the regular season and the ability for teams to sign players.

As we saw Monday, many players agreed to contracts, but if a lockout does indeed happen, one player from Japan could be impacted greatly.

Seiya Suzuki, an outfielder for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan, was posted to MLB teams Nov. 22 and clubs had 30 days to try to sign him. The deadline is set for Dec. 22, which is three weeks after the CBA expires.

However, should the lockout happen, that 30-day signing window would freeze and teams would not be able to sign Suzuki, according to The New York Times.

“While some details will need to be finalized, the expectation is that Suzuki will be afforded the standard 30 negotiating days in total, with his clock pausing for a lockout and resuming upon a settlement,” The Time reported. “Since he was posted on Nov. 22, he would have 20 days remaining upon a resolution.

“That may not seem like a big concern, but a protracted labor disruption could affect his decision. Spring training in Japan starts Feb. 1, roughly three weeks earlier than the current MLB schedule. Beyond players with health issues, latecomers are almost unheard-of in Japan. If Suzuki has any thoughts of returning to the Carp, he would probably want to do that with the rest of the group on Feb. 1.”

All told, a lockout could delay Suzuki’s path to MLB.

The time is ticking on the two sides to come to terms on a new CBA, so we’ll know soon enough if the players will be locked out or if the offseason will continue.

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