Baseball is back in action.
What has left us in major suspense over the last few months has finally come to an end, following the conversations held on Thursday, March 10, by MLB and the MLBPA.
The franchise owners and players finally agreed to a deal, which has now been ratified, that will officially allow for the sport to begin its anticipated 162-game regular-season schedule.
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This collective bargaining agreement was a long conversation that finally gave the green light to play ball. Here’s everything you need to know about the new CBA and what it means for the 2022 season.
What was the verdict of the 2022 MLB lockout?
MLB and the MLBPA have officially agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement following Thursday’s conversations.
On Thursday afternoon, a vote of 26-12 was conducted by the MLBPA. The 30 player representatives voted 26-4 in favor of the deal after the eight executive subcommittee members voted 8-0 against the deal.
On Thursday night, the owners unanimously decided to ratify the new CBA with a 30-0 vote, marking the official end to the 2022 MLB lockout.
What are the economic details of the new collective-bargaining agreement?
Conversations during the lockout primarily centered around labor and core economics, including the salaries of players. Nonetheless, the new CBA covers all aspects of the game.
The five-year agreement includes increased minimum salaries, a new pre-arbitration bonus pool and a raise in competitive balance tax thresholds. Here are some of the specifics:
- 2022: $700,000
- 2023: $720,000
- 2024: $740,000
- 2025: $760,000
- 2026: $780,000
Competitive Balance Tax threshold
Teams that surpass a predetermined payroll threshold are subject to a “luxury tax,” or competitive balance tax. If payrolls are held above that threshold, each dollar above the threshold is taxed. The tax rate increases in alignment with the number of times the team has exceeded a threshold consecutively.
The next five years’ tax thresholds include:
- 2022: $230 million
- 2023: $233 million
- 2024: $237 million
- 2025: $241 million
- 2026: $244 million
Pre-arbitration bonus pool
This new pool is aimed to reward the top young players in the game. Pools are drawn from the central revenue fund to pay the top players who are not yet eligible for arbitration. Arbitration determines upcoming salaries for players who are not yet eligible for free agency and could not agree on a contract in time.
- The bonus pool slated for the next five years is $50 million.
- The pool will count $1.66 million per team for CBT payroll purposes.
- The MLB and MLBPA will collaborate to fairly allocate these funds.
What are the general game details of the new collective bargaining agreement?
General game play rules
- For the 2022 season: The National League will adopt the designated hitter and there will be no man on second base to start extra innings.
- For the 2023 season: Pitch clocks will be used, there will be a ban on defensive shifts, an automatic ball/strike zone will exist, and there will be larger bases. A committee of four active players, six members appointed by the MLB and one umpire will be responsible for these rules.
- The postseason will expand to 12 teams.
- A draft lottery will be implemented for the top six spots to discourage tanking.
- In order to prohibit service-time manipulation, draft picks will be prompt.
- For the first time, player uniforms will feature advertising, including patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.
- The number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season will be five times.
What does the new CBA say in terms of the International Draft?
A decision on an International Draft will be made by July 25, 2022. The MLB will take away the qualifying offer system for free agents by removing direct draft-pick compensation.
The total compensation earned by new players will increase by more than $20 million annually. The International Draft will be 20 rounds with 600-plus selections.
Signing bonuses would be ensured for drafted players. Additional selections will be offered to incentivize scouting and signing in up-and-coming markets. Therefore, teams who select players from countries with less than 0.5% of signings in the previous three singing periods will have an advantage.
How long did it take for the new CBA to be voted for and ratified?
The 2022 MLB lockout lasted a total of 99 days. The lockout began back on Dec. 2 and officially ended on Thursday, March 10.
How many games were lost due to the lockout?
When negotiations broke down on March 1, commissioner Rob Manfred canceled each team’s first two series. The league proceeded to remove the third and fourth series from each team’s schedule on Wednesday. However, with the deal on Thursday, those regular-season games will be rescheduled.
Spring Training, which should have begun Feb. 26, is slated to start on Sunday, March 13. In order for each team to fit an entire 162-game schedule into this shortened time frame, the games from the first two series for each team will be rescheduled as part of nine-inning doubleheaders.
What important dates are on the horizon?
Here are some dates to keep an eye on:
Free agency opened on Thursday, March 10, following the ratification of the new CBA.
For Spring Training, attendance at camps is mandatory by Sunday, March 13, but players can arrive as early as Friday. Games will begin on March 18.
Opening Day is slated for April 7.