Major League Baseball is back.
The MLB Players Association has agreed on a 26-12 vote to approve the final proposal after 99 days of locked out negotiations, and now awaits an expected mere formality of receiving 23 of 30 votes from MLB’s owners. The details of the deal will be included and updated below, however a few key particulars will be outlined in bullet points below:
- The season will be 162 games, with the regular season extended three days further into October, as well as scheduled nine-inning doubleheaders to fit in the games from the season’s first week
- Opening Day will be April 7th, functionally pushed back a single week. The schedule will begin as previously scheduled
- Playoffs expand from 10 to 12 teams, with byes into the Divisional Round for the top two record-having division winners in each league
- Universal designated hitter
- Patches on player uniforms and helmet decals for advertising purposes
- Full service time for rookie players who are finalists for major awards and teams that call up prospects for Opening Day on Top Prospect list(s?) will be eligible for draft pick compensation. How this exactly manifests is confusing and tying award voting to compensation is a bit suspect, but hopefully will improve service time manipulation to some degree.
Re: service time... top prospects who finish 1st or 2nd in their league's Rookie of the Year voting will receive a full year of service. Teams that promote top prospects to the Opening Day roster will also be eligible to receive draft picks with Top 3 ROY or Top 5 MVP/CY finish.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 10, 2022
- No more “ghost runner” on second base in extra innings
- Increases to minimum salary from $570k to $700k
- Competitive Balance Tax initial threshold increases to $230 million in 2022, with increases to $244 million by year five.
- Limit on five optionings to the minors for a player in a single season, after which they must be placed on waivers to be demoted
- New “pre-arbitration bonus pool” of $50 million league-wide, from which bonuses will be awarded to players based on performance
- Shortened window for MLB to implement rule changes, clearing the route specifically to banning the shift, implementing a pitch clock, and installing larger bases for the 2023 season
- A draft lottery for the top six picks in the MLB draft, and restrictions on how often teams can pick in the top-10 consecutively. From MLB Pipeline:
“Teams that receive revenue-sharing payouts can’t receive a lottery pick for more than two years in a row and those that don’t can’t get a top-six choice in consecutive Drafts. Furthermore, a club that’s ineligible for the lottery can’t select higher than 10th overall.”
All 18 non-playoff clubs will enter a lottery for the top six picks. The percentage chances of each team getting the No. 1 choice, in reverse order of winning percentages: pic.twitter.com/lzWR3PeOqW— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) March 11, 2022
- The cancelation of the 2022 Rule-5 Draft (it should return as normal next year).
- A more balanced schedule starting in 2023 wherein every team will play one another at least once.
One interesting nugget in the new agreement: Starting in 2023, the schedule will feature fewer divisional games, and every team will play at least one series against every other opponent, including in the other league. The exact format is still being determined.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) March 10, 2022
- A July 25th deadline to negotiate an international amateur draft to replace the current system of capped bonus pools for under-age-25 international amateur free agents for the 2024 season (or later), wherein if a deal is agreed to, MLB will eradicate the qualifying offer and its corollary draft pick compensation/punishment beginning in the 2022-23 offseason.
- MLBPA agrees to drop the grievance against MLB for negotiating in bad faith in the 2020 season to ensure just a 60-game season (though NOT their grievances against the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Oakland Athletics for failing to put money they receive via revenue sharing back into their payroll as required).
- Expanded rights for deals between both MLB and players with sports betting companies.
- Elimination of tiebreaker Game 163, in correlation to wanting more clear schedules for expanded playoffs.
Some details emerging on how the expanded playoffs will work:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 10, 2022
* No more Game 163 tiebreakers. All playoff spots will be determined through NFL-type tiebreaker formulas.
* No re-seeding for the LDS. 1st seed plays winner of 4 vs. 5 Wild Card Series. 2nd seed plays 3 vs 6 winner.
Spring Training will begin as soon as Sunday, and if the owners ratify the deal later this afternoon as expected, free agency should be open this evening. The Seattle Mariners and the rest of MLB have work to do.