Reds starter Trevor Bauer is more concerned with 2021 than 2020.

The discourse was long since embittered, with progress as hard to come by as dry armpit in a heat wave. By Monday evening, the writing was on the wall: Major League Baseball’s owners and players have next to no chance of reaching an agreement for the start of the 2020 MLB season, forcing commissioner Rob Manfred to step in to make a potential unilateral decision.

As much as this is authentically the most relentlessly hot topic in the game, however, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is convinced that energies are misplaced, and that we could all end up paying for it in due time. The way he sees it, the real key isn’t 2020 — it’s 2021.

Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer admonished the MLB for the bitter fight over the 2020 season knowing that a new collective bargaining agreement is needed in 2021.

That’s realer-than-real talk from the brash, occasionally controversial Bauer. In terms of advancing the interests of the players for the long haul, CBA negotiations are of singular importance, as they sets the standard for years to come as to what constitutes fair labor practices. No matter what happens this season, the MLBPA cannot blow their chance at a labor agreement that doesn’t constitute real progress for professional players at all levels.

And all the energy that’s been potentially wasted this offseason doesn’t help that cause.

The conspiracy theorists down the various dimly-lit dirt roads of social media are free to speculate that the league and the owners had meant all along to run the MLBPA ragged and ensure that they’ll be in no condition to advocate for a new CBA with their best foot forward.

There’s no hard evidence of this, but we cannot entirely put it past those rascally billionaires given their utter ruthlessness over the course of this ongoing, agonizing process. If and when that comes to be, Bauer will be the first to say that he warned you.

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