There will be baseball this year.
MLB and the MLB Players Union finally reached an agreement on their collective bargaining agreement Thursday afternoon.
MLB came back with one final proposal, and despite the union’s executive board voting against it, the majority of the team representatives voted for it. Final vote was 26-12 in favor of accepting. The board voted 8-0 against it, and teams voted 26-4 in favor. It is worth noting that six of the eight on the executive board are Scott Boras clients. The dissenting teams were the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.
The season is expected to start April 7, and the first Spring Training game on March 18th. Many players are already in the states where their teams have Spring Training, and they can first officially report Friday morning. The first official practices are expected to on Sunday.
The players waited out the owners long enough that they got most of the things they wanted, and will still have a full 162 slate of games. Gone are seven inning double headers and ghost runners. Pitchers will no longer be hitting. Teams have much more room for salary before they butt up against the luxury tax. The playoffs will now feature twelve teams.
Other items of note in the agreement of the five year deal are –
- A 45-day window where MLB can implement rule changes, such as a pitch clock, bam on shifts, and larger bases in 2023
- A draft lottery of six teams will be added with the intent to discourage teams from tanking
- Draft pick inducements to discourage service time manipulation
- Limits on the number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season
- Minimum salary for players will rise from $575,500 to $700,000, increasing $20,000 per year after
- $50M pre-arbitration bonus pool
- CBT will be $230M in 2022, rising annually to $233M, $237M, $241M, and $244M
Games that have been currently scratched from the schedule will be made up in a series added to the end of the season, and double headers and using mutual off days.
The owners will hold a meeting at 6pm ET to ratify the agreement, and then immediately after that free agency will reopen.
Front offices have been able to talk to each other during this lockout, but they have not been able to talk to players. Key free agents for the Dodgers include Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and Joe Kelly.
The weekend should be an absolute whirlwind of movement and signings of players like has never been seen before. Stay tuned, and maybe grab a nap.