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How the MLB lockout affects River Bandits, other minor-league teams

Major League Baseball has entered its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike, but how much of an impact will the holdout have on minor-league affiliates?
Credit: Quad Cities River Bandits

DAVENPORT, Iowa — There's no telling when fans will see their favorite MLB teams take the field again, but things appear to be on schedule for the Quad Cities River Bandits and the rest of minor-league baseball.

Major League owners unanimously voted to lock out the players after the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday night. The strike prevents big-league teams from making any transactions with players that would impact their 40-man rosters.

While the MLB Players Association and owners attempt (or not) to come to an agreement in the upcoming weeks, months, etc., things will operate normally for all MiLB affiliates.

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Iowa Cubs president and general manager Sam Beranbe told Des Moines Register there are no plans to cease offseason activity at the moment.

"It's going to be business as usual for us moving forward unless something else changes," Bernabe said.

The Triple-A Cubs affiliate spent the first day of the MLB lockout doing their regular activities this time of year, selling season tickets and setting sponsorships for the 2022 MiLB season.

The same will continue for minor-league mini camps, spring training, and extended spring training for players currently not on a 40-man roster.

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Collective Bargaining Agreements only affect players who are part of the MLB Players Association, which consists of big leaguers and any minor-league player that is on an MLB team's 40-man roster.

As an affiliate of the Kansas Royals, the River Bandits do not currently have any active 40-man players. But the MiLB teams that do have them on their rosters would not be able to use them during games due to their player union representation.

The River Bandits (High-A) are one of Iowa's three minor-league teams with MLB affiliations -- Iowa Cubs (AAA) and Cedar Rapids Kernels (High-A) are the others.

"I've spoke with our major league affiliate and they assured us that everything in the minor leagues would go on as status quo," Kernels general manager Scott Wilson said.

So long as nothing changes, expect to see the defending champion River Bandits take the field on Opening Day as scheduled against the South Bend Cubs on April 8, 2022.