MLB Lockout

Ben Drago

On December 14, 2016, the MLB and players union formed a collective bargaining agreement. The agreement had a 4 year time frame and at the period of expiration the two sides would negotiate a new agreement. The deal expired on December 1, 2021. One of the major issues is teams intentionally losing games. In order to gain a higher draft pick, teams would tank the season. For young players, they are ineligible for free agency until their 6th year. They are not even eligible for contract negotiations until their 3rd year. Essentially, rookie players are subject to the salary given to them for the first three years, with no say on the amount. Players also had issues with the minimum salary. For 2021, the minimum salary for players was $570,000. The owners obviously want to pay the players as little as possible. Another major sticking point for the two sides is the expanded playoff format. In previous years, there were 10 playoff teams. The players association wants to expand it to 12 or 14 teams. This would bring in more revenue for players. 

With neither side willing to budge, the Commissioner implemented the lockout.  It completely froze the MLB offseason meaning players were not allowed to practice, injured players could not get medical treatment from team doctors, it also stopped any player from entering team facilities. For 100 days, it disrupted the offseason and resulted in the longest lockout in MLB history. However, it is clear that both sides want to play and have the season go on as scheduled. The commissioner stated to reporters, “That’s what it’s about: It’s about avoiding damage to the season.” Although the commissioner claims there is no intention to damage the season, that is not coming across as such to players and fans. The commissioner delayed opening day and then canceled multiple games at the start of the season. 

On March 10, 2022 the players and owners signed a new CBA that set opening day for April 10th. For the first time, the season will include a designated hitter, which was one major agreement for both sides. In the coming days many big trades and free agency pickups will be occurring since teams are now able to operate at full capacity. The full season will begin on April 14th and the expanded playoffs will begin on October 7th.