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MLB lockout ends as MLBPA and owners agree new CBA

2022 MLB season set to start on 7th April and a full 162-game schedule will be played.

11 March 2022 Rory Jones

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  • New deal will see increase in minimum salaries and raise in competitive balance tax threshold
  • 99-day lockout was second-longest work stoppage in MLB history
  • Spring Training to start this weekend with preseason games from 17th or 18th March

The 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is set to start on 7th April after the league finally reached a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with its players’ association (MLBPA).

The five-year deal brings to an end a 99-day lockout, the second-longest work stoppage in the league’s history, which had seen the two sides fail to settle on new terms after the previous CBA expired on 1st December.

The standoff now appears to be over after the MLBPA voted 26-12 in favour of the league’s latest proposal, while the 30 team owners unanimously approved the agreement. Preseason games will now begin on either 17th or 18th March, and players must report to their teams for Spring Training no later than 13th March.

The deal came a day after MLB further postponed the opening day of the 2022 season until 14th April. However, the CBA ensures that a full 162-game season will be played, while the four series that were previously removed from the calendar will be restored.

“I am genuinely thrilled to be able to say that Major League Baseball is back and we’re going to play 162 games,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

“I do want to start by apologising to our fans. I know that the last few months have been difficult. There’s a lot of uncertainty, at a point in time when there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world. [It’s] sort of the way the process of collective bargaining works sometimes, but I do apologise for it.

“One of the good things about collective bargaining is that it gives our players an opportunity to have input on what their workplace and the game is going to look like going forward. And they took full opportunity to provide that input during these negotiations.

“Our players are great, great athletes. I respect them. And I respect the input that we received from them during this process. And we really did learn a lot.”

MLB’s new CBA will see minimum salaries rise to US$700,000 for 2022, marking a 23 per cent increase on last year. That figure will increase by US$20,000 each year through to 2026.

The competitive balance tax threshold has also increased to US$230 million for the upcoming season, up almost ten per cent on 2021, while the new agreement also includes a pre-arbitration bonus pool of US$50 million.

As well as the adjustment to player salaries, MLB’s new CBA includes the introduction of a universal designated hitter and an expansion of the playoffs to a 12-team format.

Additionally, a new Joint Competition Committee will be formed, comprising four active players, six members appointed by MLB and an umpire. The committee will be responsible for discussing and implementing rule changes, which under the new CBA can be brought in faster than in the previous agreement, where changes would require at least one year’s notice.

“Our union endured the second-longest work stoppage in its history to achieve significant progress in key areas that will improve not just current players’ rights and benefits, but those of generations to come,” added MLBPA executive director Tony Clark. “Players remained engaged and unified from beginning to end, and in the process reenergised our fraternity.”

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