Image Courtesy of Athletics Nation
By Zachary Lichter
On Thursday, March 10, 2022, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) finally compromised regarding the league’s collective bargaining agreement, and ending the 2021-22 MLB Lockout. This deal comes as the MLB Lockout entered its ninety-ninth day and after MLB’s Commissioner, Rob Manfred canceled the first two series of the regular season. The 2021-22 MLB Lockout began on December 2, 2021, when the team owners and the Players Association’s collective bargaining agreement expired from the deal made back in 2016. Many players, who are currently a part of the Players Association, were demanding more money from their team owners. Both the league and the Players Association couldn’t come up with an agreeable compromise regarding salary, and other rule changes. With the lockout being enacted, 2021 Winter Meeting’s, Free Agency, and the Rule 5 Draft were put on hold. As Spring Training was quickly approaching in February 2022, questions were asked whether the season would start on time. Opening Day depended on the agreeable compromise made by the league and the Players Association.
“All thirty ball clubs are making worth at least $1 billion and should be compensated as such,” said freshman Matthew Cutrona. “Also, players are being compared to each other, making the price constantly increase as each player wants to earn more. Current players were not paid enough, if at all, in the minors or during their first couple years in the big leagues, so they want to be paid in the backend. Ball Clubs do not like this, obviously.”
After the agreeable compromise made by MLB and the Players Association, players salaries will begin at a minimum of $700,000 in 2022, which is an unprecedented 23% increase from last year and will continue to increase to $780,000 the final year in 2026. The competitive balance threshold, which taxes from big-spending teams will surpass, will be at least $230 million in 2022 and will reach $244 million by 2026. Thanks to the compromise made by the MLB and the players association, Opening Day will now be on April 7th. Spring Training will begin on March 17th.
Besides the compromise finally made by MLB and the Players Association, this season will look a little different. There will now be a universal designated hitter and also a provision that prevents teams from optioning eligible players more than five teams within a season. Batters will now be having additional advertising through patches and decals on helmets. There will be a twelve team postseason, with the top two teams in the American and National Leagues earning first-round byes. The league will also have forty five days to implement any rule changes beginning in 2023.
“I think the new rules actually helped for an agreement to come,” said freshman Henry Escandon. “Players want the rules that will help them be more healthy and a more fluid game. They still plan on having a 162 game regular season and that means they would be paid the same.”
Along with the new rules made for the game itself, there will be rules made for the offseason. There will be a six team draft lottery with the intent of curtailing tanking. There will also be two measures taken at limiting-service time manipulation. A player that completed a full year of service time will be awarded to a player that finished within the top two votes for Rookie of the Year.
Everyone is happy that baseball is back, and we’ll see how these new rules and compromises affect professional baseball for years to come.