Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, ending the shutdown imposed by the league’s owner.
The union voted to approve a new proposal by a margin of 26-12 (a simple majority, or 20 votes, was all that was needed to pass the new agreement, but it is notable that the eight members of the Executive Subcommittee all voted “no”). The owners ratified the new five-year CBA agreement Thursday night, voting in favor of it 30-0. MLB’s offseason (free trade and agency) business is expected soon. The players will report to spring training in the coming days, and MLB teams are scheduled to play a full season of 162 games in 2022. The opening day is April 7, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ.
The closure ended on its 99th day. The owners first enacted the shutdown on December 2, when the previous CBA expired, marking the first outage for the MLB since the 1994-95 players’ strike. Although the league described the work as a defense mechanism that it hoped would speed up negotiations, the owners waited more than six weeks to submit their first proposal. Talks finally heated up in the last week of February, when the two sides met daily in Florida. Thursday’s agreement was reached after hours of negotiations this week in New York.
Below are some of the salient details reported from the accepted proposal, According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
- CBT Threshold: $230 million in 2023 and peaking at $244 million in the final year of CBA
- CBT عقوبة Penalty Class: Introducing a new denomination starting at $60 million after the bottom line (the highest level used at $40 million above the bottom line);
- Minimum salary: $700,000 peaking at $780,000 in the final year of the CBA;
- Collect rewards before ARB: 50 million dollars
- Postseason format: 12 teams
Commissioner Rob Manfred previously announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the 2022 regular season when talks stalled, but all matches were back on schedule. Reportedly being made up during vacation days and double heads.
Throughout the process, the union sought to raise minimum wages and competitive balance tax thresholds; Implementation of a central reward package for players prior to judging which would be performance-based; and introducing some measures that would curb anti-competitive behaviour, such as tanks. For their part, the owners prioritized the postseason, an international draft, and the ability to make rule changes, likely including, possibly, installing a stadium clock and larger bases, as well as restricting defensive positions.
It was the first shutdown in league history to hurt the regular season.
Here are five takeaways from the new CBA.
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1. The deal has taken a scenic route
It took 99 days from the start of the shutdown (December 2) to complete the deal, making this the longest shutdown in the league’s history, as well as the first regular season breakout. (The previous record belongs to the 1990 32-day shutdown.)
The owners waited more than six weeks after the lock was placed to make their first show to players. Then the two sides met here and there, but it wasn’t until late February when they began meeting several times, in person, on a daily basis.
The league officially canceled the first two series of the season on March 1, but the two sides remained engaged and continued to blow through the league’s artificially imposed deadline after the league’s artificially imposed deadline. As of Thursday, the league had set a 3 p.m. “deadline” that passed without players voting to ratify or reject the agreement, which included a clause requiring the federation to drop a complaint against the league over the abridged 2020 season. . (The association claimed that the league chose to play fewer matches than it could have.)
Despite all the public wrangling and false start negotiations, the league and the union were able to maintain a 162-game season, albeit in a different format.
2. More money for young players
One of the union’s biggest goals in these negotiations was to reward players who were in the early stages of their careers. The way the MLB compensation system is set up, players with less than three years of service time are essentially guaranteed to make no more than the league minimum, no matter how well they play.
Not only did the new CBA law raise the league minimums by more than $100,000 (it was $575,500 in 2021), it also introduced a pre-arbitration bonus package, funded by $50 million. Players who are not yet eligible to arbitrate will have the opportunity to earn additional money based on their rank in Wins Above Replacement. It won’t give them their market value, or anything close, but it’s a huge boost to talent who would otherwise be paid dramatically lower compared to their performance. During negotiations, it was suggested that the money in the pool be split among the top 30 pre-judging players based on WAR.
3. It’s now a 12-team postseason
Since the creation of Wild Card Game in 2012, 10 teams have done post-season work every year except for the 2020 season which has been cut short for the pandemic. This number will now increase to 12 teams. (The owners paid for a 14-team format.) Exact details are unknown, but the league has resisted the “ghost win” technique used in Japan and South Korea.
4. There will be rule changes and uniform corrections
The aforementioned 2020 season also included the global DH. This CBA is sure to make that new normal, creating 15 new jobs for players in the process. As part of the agreement, the league gained the ability to implement rule changes for the 2023 season, including the stadium clock; limitations on defensive positions; and installation of larger bases for health and safety purposes. Two on-field bases from the past two seasons, seven double-header runs and a second base runner to start extra innings, are not part of this new deal.
Tanks have become a hot topic in baseball over the past decade. This CBA will at least try to reduce this behavior by implementing a six-team lottery. The CBA also incentivizes teams to promote their best prospects when they are ready, rather than financially expedient, with draft pick bonuses. Players will also have a limited number of times they can be selected in one season.
In addition to the expanded post-season period, the league will create a new revenue stream by allowing teams to put advertising patches on their jerseys and badges on their helmets, per ESPN.
5. The international draft will stimulate more conversations
As mentioned elsewhereThe two sides agreed to continue talking about the international draft by late July. If they can agree to a structure, the draft selection compensation is taken out of the window. If not, the draft pick compensation will be reactivated and the international amateur process will remain unchanged.
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