MLB and Players Association reach agreement to end lockout

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions during an MLB owners meeting on February 10, 2022 in Orlando Florida (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Julio Aguilar

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions during an MLB owner’s meeting on February 10, 2022 in Orlando Florida (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

After 99 days, the MLB lockout is over. Games will be played, and a full season remains intact and players will report to spring training on March 13.

On March 10, the owners had a 30-0 unanimous vote to approve the players association’s most recent counteroffer to renew the recently expired collective bargaining agreement. The main concerns holding up negotiations involved extra time to negotiate an international player draft, qualifying offers for free agents and a cash pool for pre-arbitration eligible players. It took almost three and a half months locking out the players, multiple letters from the commissioner, five deadlines in the past two weeks, multiple days negotiating for over 15 hours and one weeks’ worth of games initially being canceled.

Major League Baseball’s first work stoppage since the 1994-95 player strike started on Thursday, December 2, 2021, when Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the owners have decided to lock out the players to incentivize productive negotiations to renew the expired CBA. Negotiations for a new agreement did not start for several weeks after that. All players and personnel could not interact or communicate about baseball outside of union negotiations. During the lockout, the league lost its rights to the player’s likeness and could not display players’ pictures or bio on their profiles on official team sites. Players have been left with an offseason of finding ways and facilities to train in due to not having access to team facilities and trainers.

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Now that the lockout is over, teams will begin aggressively pursuing players in trades and free agency. Although a few players signed before the lockout, most free agents remain without a team and will most likely try to sign with a team as soon as possible so they can have time to make new living arrangements. Notable free agents still available include Infielders Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, Pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Rodon, Kenley Jansen and Zack Greinke, Outfielders Kyle Schwarber, Eddie Rosario, Brett Gardner, Nick Castellanos and Michael Conforto.

The biggest changes with the new CBA are the expanded playoffs from ten to twelve teams, the increased competitive balance tax threshold, a universal designated hitter, an increased cash pool for pre-arbitration players, and there will be more negotiations concerning a potential international player draft that must be decided on by July 25.

Opening day for most teams will be April 7, with a few teams starting on the 8th. The season will be extended by three days to make up for previously canceled games, and the remaining games will be made up in doubleheaders during the season.