Bryce Harper sends message to Japan’s Yomiuri Giants as MLB lockout continues

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Monday was MLB’s self-imposed deadline to end the lockout and secure a new collective agreement before regular-season games would be lost. No agreement was reached, but there have finally been reports of progress in the talks, which stretch into Tuesday.

The original 2022 opening day was set for March 31 and Commissioner Rob Manfred has clarified the league’s position that a full, four-week spring training session would be required if/when a new CBA is achieved.

With seemingly no deal in sight early Monday, three months after lockdown began on December 1, some frustrated players in the league began to consider alternatives.

Bryce Harper posted this picture to Instagram of himself in a Yomiuri Giants uniform. “She?” asks Harper in the Instagram story. “Have some time to kill.”

The Yomiuri Giants are the oldest and most successful team in Japan’s NPB, essentially that league’s Yankees.

As pointed out by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the players’ union included this message in a guide for agents ahead of the lockout:

Q: “Can banned players play in foreign leagues like Japan (NPB), Korea (KBO) etc.?”

A: “Yes. The PA would challenge any attempts by MLB to disrupt players who choose to play in a foreign league during a lockout. During the 2004-05 work stoppage, a large number of NHL players chose to play internationally.”

Just think how much money an overseas team would be willing to throw to such a high-profile player in his prime for an MVP…

Yankees slugger Joey Gallo had a hilarious response that highlighted his pull-joyful nature and uniform quirks.

Braves reliever Luke Jackson followed Harper’s lead.

That doesn’t mean Harper was necessarily serious, or that players will start exploring opportunities outside the country as lockdown stretches into March. Teams obviously wouldn’t want their highest-paid players to risk injury in another professional league and would fight to prevent it. It could add another layer of frustration to the destructive months between the league and the players, and between the sport and its fans.

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