Major League Baseball’s lockout is over.
MLB owners and the players’ association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, bringing an end to a 99-day lockout that began on Dec. 2. It was the second-longest work stoppage in MLB history.
The owners submitted the final offer to the players early Thursday afternoon, and the deal was agreed upon by the players with a vote of 26-12. The 30 player representatives voted 26-4 in favor of the deal, while the eight executive subcommittee members voted 8-0 against the deal, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The owners then voted 30-0 to ratify the deal later Thursday evening, putting an official end to the lockout.
Despite MLB-imposed deadlines on Feb. 28 and March 9 to salvage a full season, no games will be missed in 2022. Each team will play their usual 162-game slate, with Opening Day set for April 7 – exactly one week after its originally scheduled date of March 31. The end of the season will be extended three extra days, and nine-inning doubleheaders will be played to make up for lost time. Players will receive their full salaries in 2022.
Players are required to report for spring training by this Sunday, March 13, and free agency could reopen as soon as Thursday night.
Here are the other key details of the new collective bargaining agreement (via ESPN’s Jeff Passan):
- A 12-team postseason field, with six teams in each league making the playoffs.
- Similar to the NBA, advertisements will be allowed with patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.
- A 45-day window for MLB to implement rules changes -- among them: a pitch clock, ban on shifts and larger bases in the 2023 season.
- The designated hitter will be used in both leagues.
- A draft lottery will be implemented, with the hope of discouraging tanking.
- Draft-pick inducements to discourage service-time manipulation (similar to the Kris Bryant situation in 2015).
- There will be a limited number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season.