MLB Lockout Ends as Owners, MLBPA Reach a Tentative Agreement

After 99 days, the MLB lockout ended last week when the league and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) finally approved a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The agreement was reached hours after both sides had agreed to postpone a final decision regarding the possibility of implementing an international draft until July 25. Baseball fans, instead of having to look for the best online casino as an alternative, can now get ready for the MLB season.

The new CBA terms were rejected by all eight members of MLBPA’s executive committee. However, the vote of the 30 representative players was 26-4 in favor of the proposal. The new agreement was unanimously approved by the team owners. Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, stated that he was “genuinely thrilled” to be able to say MLB had returned and that 162 games would be possible.

Spring Training Ready to Launch

Spring Training camps are now open and Cactus League games and Grapefruit League will begin on Friday, March 18. Tony Clark, executive director of MLBPA, stated that the union suffered the second-longest stoppage in the league’s history. However, representatives have made significant progress in key areas that will enhance not only current players’ rights or benefits, but also those for future generations.

During the CBA negotiations, important issues were dealt with regarding core economics of sport: luxury tax thresholds, associated penalties, minimum start salary, pre-arbitration Bonus pool and percentage of players who would qualify for Super Two status.

Minimum salaries for MLB

After exchanging many proposals and figures, the union and league agreed to pay a $700,000 salary for first-year players in 2022. This is a significant increase from the minimum salary of $575,500 for the 2021 season. The 22.7% increase in the first-year player’s salary is also the largest since the 2003-07 CBA, which was 50%.

Current CBA will see a minimum salary increase to $720,000 in the 2023 season. $740,000, $760,000, and $780,000 for the entire life of the agreement.

Pre-arbitration Bonus Pool

The CBA has a new feature: the pre-arbitration pool for players who have not achieved Super Two status but still have three years of Major League service.

Players set their highest offer at $105 million. This was an enormous gap until recent negotiations. Both sides eventually agreed to a bonus pool of $50 million.

Luxury tax thresholds 

One of the most contentious topics, team owners made progress toward the MLBPA’s desired figures. The luxury tax threshold is $230 million for the 2022 season. It then increases to $233 million the next year, $237million in 2024, $241 million for 2025, $244 million for 2025 and $244 million in its final year.

With MLB getting closer to the union’s demands came a fourth tier of surcharge penalty. This is officially referred to as the Steve Cohen Tax in recognition of the New York Mets owners’ deep pockets.

The first three tiers have retained their luxury tax rates, but the fourth introduced a competitive balanced tax rate, which ranges between 80-110% depending on repeater status.

Postseason expansion

MLB was keen to increase the number of teams in October baseball, despite the potential revenue opportunities from expanded playoffs. Although the Players Association was open to the possibility, it preferred 12 teams over the league’s preferred 14.

The terms of the expanded postseason were agreed upon by the players. It will now include a round for the Wild Card Series. The Division Series will begin with the Division Series, where the Division Series’ top two winners from each league will be guaranteed a bye to the first round.

Another component of the CBA is the limit on how many times a player can be optioned for the Minors. This cap is now five per season. 

All of these, however, are only stop-gap measures designed to get the season started. Additional changes could arrive as the MLB and the MLBPA finalize the future of the league. 

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