Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) today, ending a 99-day lockout which began way back in early December 2021 and ended with the new deal ratified by the players then by the owners. So it’s official. There will be baseball in 2022. And it’s set to start on April 7th.
That doesn’t leave much time for an abbreviated Spring Training, and the coming frenzy of free agent signings and trades as teams pick up roster building where it was left when they failed to agree on a CBA and the lockout began three months back.
How will baseball be different when it does return? What’s in the new CBA?
Here are some highlights via MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand:
“The new five-year CBA is expected to include increased minimum salaries, a new pre-arbitration bonus pool to reward the top young players in the game, a raise in competitive balance tax thresholds, the introduction of a universal designated hitter, the widest-ranging Draft lottery in pro sports, a system to prevent alleged service-time manipulation, limits on the number of times a player can be optioned in a season, and a 12-team postseason. There will also be the evaluation of an international Draft.”
Some final details of a CBA where players made some notable gains:— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 10, 2022
• Pre-arb bonus pool at $50m
• Min salary: $700k, $720k, 740k, $760k, $780k
• CBT: $230m-$244m
• Draft lottery at 6 picks
• Universal DH
• Amateur draft is 20 rounds
• Player can be optioned 5 times per yr
The deal on a new CBA comes 24 hours after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made an announcement on the second series of the season being postponed, since at that point there was no deal, but they were right back at it today, and finally reached an agreement late this afternoon.
“I think we made an agreement when it was possible to make an agreement,” Manfred told reporters after the owners voted 30-0 to approve the deal which MLBPA voters previously approved in an earlier vote (which was reportedly a 26-12 vote between player reps for all 30 teams + the eight-player executive subcommittee) with, as MASN’s Mark Zuckerman noted, “... all eight members of the executive subcommittee (Max Scherzer, Andrew Miller, Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien, Zack Britton, James Paxton, Jason Castro, and Gerrit Cole) voting against it, but 26 of the 30 individual team player reps voting for it (all but the Mets, Yankees, Astros, and Cardinals, according to The Athletic).”
Nationals will need to make up 3 games at Mets, 2 home games vs. Phillies. Between some mutual off-days, doubleheaders during pre-existing series and a few extra days after the original season finale, shouldn't be too tough to re-schedule those.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 10, 2022
In the aftermath of the drama surrounding the negotiations on the new CBA, before and after the 99-day lockout, Manfred told reporters tonight the relationship between player and owner (and the Commissioner himself) will obviously need some work:
The key quote from Rob Manfred, on how he begins to build trust with players so that a more harmonious relationship might develop … pic.twitter.com/lZeJNRDLbF— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) March 10, 2022
Via ESPN’s Alden González: Manfred - “One of the things that I’m supposed to do is promote a good relationship with our players. I’ve tried to do that. I think that I have not been successful in that. I think that it begins with small steps. It’s why I picked up the phone after the ratification and called [MLBPA Executive Director] Tony [Clark] and expressed my desire to work with him. It’s going to be a priority of mine moving forward to try to make good on the commitment I made to him on the phone.”
Players achieve key objectives in new Basic Agreement pic.twitter.com/9Vqke9UqxX— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) March 11, 2022
Welcome back, baseball. What do you want to see the Nationals do first as they pick up the roster building from earlier this winter? How many one-year deals will Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office hand out over the coming days and weeks? Have any good deferred money jokes for us? How are you feeling about the chances of a full, healthy season from Stephen Strasburg in 2022? Will Patrick Corbin get sorted? Are you worried about Joe Ross? Anyone think Carter Kieboom finds it and stays at third base? Who will start the season at shortstop? And where will Luis García play? Short or second base? Are you pencilling César Hernández in at second base? Is there anything you really like or (like the universal DH?) you really hate (DH in the NL?) in the new CBA? How about this scheduling note?:
One interesting nugget in the new agreement: Starting in 2023, the schedule will feature fewer divisional games, and every team will play at least one series against every other opponent, including in the other league. The exact format is still being determined.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) March 10, 2022
Are you just happy there is a new CBA? Bitter that it took this long? Not ready to forgive one side or the other? Where are you right now?
“I am genuinely thrilled to say Major League Baseball is back and we’re going to play 162 games,” Manfred said. Begins by apologizing to fans for all the uncertainty “at a time when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world.”— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 10, 2022