The contract numbers spent in free agency so far are record-setting, mind-bending. Max Scherzer's annual salary of $43.3 million is the highest ever for a pitcher. The Texas Rangers spent more money in two days on two players -- Corey Seager and Marcus Semien -- than they have on their entire roster the last four seasons combined. The New York Mets' 2022 payroll is approaching $300 million, after Steve Cohen's holiday weekend spree.

But some agents and club executives fully anticipate an inevitable fallout from all of the money being thrown around now, and expect that whenever there is a labor resolution between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association -- whether that happens in the next three days or the next three months -- those who will absorb the cost will again be the middle class of the union.

That is to say, it's those rank-and-file veterans who aren't superstars and aren't getting the eight- or nine-figure payouts, a group that has taken a big hit in average salary over the past seven years. "It's going to get ugly for those guys," said one general manager.

Said a player agent: "I don't even want to think about what's going to happen to them."

Salary and compensation have been a huge focus for the union in the unsuccessful negotiations that saw the league lock out the players Thursday for the first time in 30 years -- but the conversations have mostly been around a league minimum and free agency eligibility. The players' middle class, which has seen salary diminishment as a lot of teams apply analytics and identify cheaper replacement-level players, while other teams adopt the tanking strategy and cut payroll dramatically, has mostly been left out of those conversations.