Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, paving the way for the 2022 regular season, which begins April 7.
The CBA must be ratified by owners before it can become official, with a vote scheduled for early Thursday evening. If ratified, the two sides must then sign a Memorandum of Understanding, ending the three-month formal shutdown.
The mandatory spring training report date for all clubs is Sunday. The exhibition games will start on March 17 or 18.
The deal came to fruition a day after MLB postponed its opening day until April 14 in the absence of a new agreement and announced that each team’s first four series had been removed from the schedule. However, as part of this agreement, a full schedule of 162 games will be played, and the four series previously removed from the calendar will be rescheduled.
The new five-year CBA includes a minimum salary increase, a new pre-arbitration bonus to reward the game’s best young players, an increase in competitive credit tax thresholds, the introduction of a global designated hitter, a broader scope for draft lotteries in professional sports, a system to prevent alleged tampering with service time and restrictions imposed on the number of times a player can be selected in a season to address concerns about ‘roster disruption’.
The deal also includes an expanded 12-team post-season format, making baseball the playoff in two additional markets each year.
As part of the agreement, a joint competition committee will be formed consisting of four active players, six members appointed by the MLB and one referee. From 2023, the committee will be tasked with adopting changes to the rules of play such as pitch clock, base size, defensive positioning, and auto ball/kick zone.
Under the previous agreement, the MLB had the right to unilaterally implement rule changes with one year’s notice, but the new system will allow the game to improve in time thanks to cooperation between the league and the players.
Once the CBA is completed, teams across the league will turn their attention to completing their off-season work, with more than 200 players still in the free agent market, including such notable names as Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant and Trevor Story.
Here are some details of the agreement between the MLB and the MLBPA:
2024: 740 thousand dollars
2025: 760 thousand dollars
• The increase in the first year is the largest one-year increase in history, nearly five times the increase of $27,500 in the first year of the previous balance sheet. It also represents a larger increase than the total recorded in the last ten years.
Competitive Balance Tax Limit
2022: $230 million
2023: $233 million
2024: $237 million
2025: $241 million
2026: $244 million
• The increase of $20 million from 2021 to 2022 is almost double the previous largest increase in the first year.
• A fourth tax level has been added of $60 million above the base threshold to address unruly spending.
Pre-judging rewards pool
• $50 million (distributed to the top 100 players based on awards and statistical performance).
• The MLB and the MLBPA will develop a statistical method for allocating funds.
• Under this system, NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burns would have jumped from $608,000 to $4.2 million last season, while Rookie of the Year winners Randy Arrosarina and Jonathan India would see theirs more than triple in 2021.
• The 6 best picks will be awarded via lottery.
• The odds will depend on the reverse order of the winning percentage, the winning percentage for winning three clubs in the standings is 16.5%.
• Eighteen clubs not affiliated with the post-season period will be eligible, although those paid for revenue sharing will be ineligible to receive lottery picks in three consecutive years, while non-paid ones will be ineligible to receive lottery picks in consecutive years.
• In exchange for approval of an international draft by July 25, 2022, MLB will eliminate the qualifying bid system (Direct Draft Choice Compensation) for free agents.
• The International Draft will be 20 rounds (over 600 picks), increasing the total payout earned by amateurs by more than $20 million annually.
• The signature of rewards will be guaranteed to the drafted players.
• Clubs that select players from developing countries (countries with less than 0.5% of signings in the previous three signing periods) will receive additional selections to stimulate exploration and registration in emerging markets.
From 2023, a committee of four active players, six members appointed by the MLB and one referee, will be tasked with approving changes to the rules of play such as pitch clock, base size, defensive positioning, and auto ball/hit area.
• Contracts of eligible players will be guaranteed to arbitrate.
• Senior prospects who finish 1st or 2nd in the Junior vote will receive a full year of service.
• Clubs promoting Senior Potential for Opening Day rosters will be eligible to receive draft picks if a player finishes in the top 3 in this year’s Rookie of the Year vote or Top 5 in the MVP/Cy Young vote.
• Extended Postseason: 12 teams, with first-class winners receiving a farewell.
• Global Rhombus Hitter.
• Players can be selected only five times per season.