Ladies and gentlemen, baseball is back.
After a 99-day long labor stoppage that featured everything from cancelled games to players jokingly working at fast food restaurants, the league and players have agreed in principle to a new collective bargaining agreement. When the representatives from both sides meet later tonight to ratify the deal, the league-induced lockout will officially be over.
But what is included in this deal? Here’s what we know so far:
- The Collective Bargaining Tax will increase $230 million to $244 million over the course of the five-year deal
- The minimum salary for players with less than three years of major league service will jump from $570,500 to $700,000
- A bonus pool of $50 million will be distributed among players who have not yet reached arbitration
- A 45-day window for MLB to implement rules change, including a pitch clock, ban on shifts and larger bases in the 2023 season
- DH will be universal
- Draft lottery will be implemented to help avoid tanking
- Draft-pick incentives will be used to discourage service-time manipulation
- The number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season is limited to 5
- Postseason will expand to 12 teams
- Player jerseys and batting helmets will feature sponsor decals
The end of the lockout also means transactions will once again be allowed, making it likely in the next few hours and days we could see a flurry of trades and free agent signings as teams try to get ready for the new season.
Players can report to Spring Training as early as tomorrow, and Opening Day is officially scheduled for April 7th. If everything holds up, we’re on track for a full 162-game season.
In the immortal words of umpires everywhere, let’s play ball.