MLB ready for season after 99-day lockout

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | Commissioner Rob Manfred, MLB and the MLBPA saw the lockout end after reaching an agreement on March 10.

Sean O’Donnell | Staff Writer

March 17, 2022

With Major League Baseball’s Opening Day just around the corner on April 7, fans will be able to enjoy it more knowing that the whole season was in jeopardy just a week ago.

The league entered a lockout on Dec. 2 and didn’t come to a new agreement with the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) until March 10. The deal runs through the 2026 season.

The work stoppage prevented teams from making roster moves, while also delaying the start of the season following the inability to meet deadlines during the negotiations.

The 2022 season was originally scheduled for March 31, but was bumped back a week. Fortunately, the week’s worth of postponed games will be made up throughout the season and in the week following the original end of the regular season.

The lockout was initiated by MLB commissioner Robert Manfred, as the 2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was set to expire, and the league was still in disagreement with the MLBPA on what the new agreement should contain.

The MLBPA’s main concern with the 2017 agreement that they wanted changed was payment for the league’s younger players. In 2021, the league’s minimum salary was $570,500. With veteran players like New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer making over $43 million a year (per Spotrac), the drastic spread of wealth was a key concern for the MLBPA.

The minimum salary has been raised to $700,000 and will increase by $20,000 per season through 2026.

The MLB owners wanted to change the postseason format, which has included 10 teams since 2012. Owners proposed that 14 teams make the postseason. The MLBPA met them in the middle, as there will now be 12 teams (six per league) in the postseason field.

The MLBPA and the MLB also agreed to continue negotiating the idea of an international draft. In the past, MLB teams would send scouts all over the world (to countries like the Dominican Republic) to find young talent. Teams could sign players they found with essentially no restrictions, but the MLB wants a more structured way of getting these players signed.

The MLB proposed a 20-round draft where players from outside the United States would be eligible to enter, starting at age 16.

Some players have expressed their disapproval, including MLBPA representative and Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. He tweeted that he was “in bargaining sessions for months,” and that the idea of an international draft is more “about how to divide players.”

With representatives like Lindor still voicing displeasure, the MLB and the MLBPA agreed to not let this continue the lockout, as the subject will be discussed more during the season.

The league avoided a massive problem by ending the lockout when they did. The MLB is not just about players, but also about regular, working-class citizens. Baseball stadiums employ concession workers, electricians, janitors, security and broadcast teams.

Prior to the deal being reached, these workers faced the potential of being out of a job. As a result, the MLB launched a $1 million fund to help support those impacted.

With a new CBA agreement, the league is more balanced, and a 162-game season is ready to commence.