Venice minor league player in limbo as MLB lockout drags on


VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) – The world of baseball is holding its breath as Major League Baseball owners and the player’s union race to a breaking point.

Months of negotiations have kept baseball in lockout, and it’s putting tons of players in a precarious situation as they scramble to figure out what their future holds.

That includes one minor league player from Venice, Nick Longhi.

Longhi is a Triple-A minor league player and a two-time state champ from Venice. The corner outfield and first baseman has batted for the Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies and other teams for seven years now.

Nowadays he’s a free agent trying to stay hot.

The problem is the league’s lockout is putting his aspirations on ice for the moment. As negotiations drag on, teams can’t add any more players to their bench.

“Contact teams and teams say we’re not making any moves because of the lockout and the new CBA until they figure that out,” Longhi explained.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired back in December. That’s left team owners with two choices: Keep business moving as is or go into lockdown to force a deal now.

The player’s union is pushing for higher salaries to match MLB’s growth and an agreement to stop teams from tanking their own seasons as a ploy to grab better drafts. Owners coming to the table want to add more playoff games to the season.

So far, no one’s budging.

Until a deal comes together, players like Longhi can’t go anywhere.

“I just keep telling him to keep working hard,” Jack Voight, a hitting coach and mentor to Longhi, said. “To be ready to go and we’ll see what happens. I wish him nothing but the best.”

Voight, who’s one of the all-time great players from Venice, has been coaching Longhi since he was in little league.

He said it’s tough seeing promising players like him getting held back. First by the pandemic, now the lockout.

“It’s been tough for a lot of people, not just the players,” Voight said. “But it’s been tough on coaches. It’s been tough on the minor league facilities that lost games. The communities that their located in.”

For now, Longhi is keeping his mind off business. He’s more focused on the task at hand–improving every day.

“Right now, the pedal’s to the floor,” Longhi said. “I’m working hard, training hard and trying to do everything I can to put myself in the right position to be in the big leagues.”

Time is running out for MLB negotiations to settle.

If the owners and the players association don’t reach a deal by Monday, opening day will not start on March 31.

It’s possible that the season will lose games off the schedule. Those are games players will not be able to make up and get paid for later in the season.

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