Major League Baseball players and owners accept working agreement, ending 99-day lockdown

The agreement ends a landlord-imposed lockout that began on December 2. He is the product of protracted and acrimonious negotiations that revolved around players seeking a bigger share of the sport’s growing revenue after watching wages stagnate in recent years.

Each side won enough of what they wanted to come away at least somewhat satisfied. Owners got expanded playoffs, while players got big increases in minimum wages and increases in competitive balance tax thresholds and better anti-tank measures.

There was a split vote within union ranks: all eight union leaders voted against the pact, but enough of the 30 team reps voted in favor, pushing it through 26 to 12. Later Thursday, owners have ratified the deal with a 30-0 vote.

“I’m really excited to say Major League Baseball is back and we’re going to play 162 games,” commissioner Rob Manfred said at MLB headquarters after the ratification vote. He added an apology to fans “at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty in the world”.

Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said the players remained “engaged and unified from start to finish” before finally voting for the pact. “Our union has suffered the second longest work stoppage in its history to make meaningful progress in key areas that will not only improve the rights and benefits of current players, but those of generations to come.

Manfred acknowledged that he needed to improve his poor reputation with players.

“One of the things I’m supposed to do is promote a good relationship with our players,” he said. “I tried to do that. I didn’t succeed in that. It starts with small steps. That’s why, after the ratification, I picked up the phone and called Tony, “

The row interrupted the familiar rhythm of spring training, which didn’t start as usual in mid-February, and left furious fans unable to comprehend the big-budget squabbles that threatened to ruin their spring. summer and fall.

Spring training games will start on March 17 or 18.

Spring training camps in Florida and Arizona are set to open immediately, with players on 40-man rosters already joining the minor leaguers in the camps. Spring training will be shortened – about 3.5 weeks instead of the usual six.

Sunday is the mandatory reporting date for players.

MLB canceled the first two series on the original schedule as negotiations dragged on. A will be added at the end of the season, the other being composed on holidays or with nine-inning doubleheaders.

The final games of the regular season will be played by October 5.

As early as Thursday night, a frenetic bazaar of free agent signings and trades can begin, as teams vie to fill their rosters after losing the hot December season.

In addition to significantly higher minimum wages and higher tax thresholds for competitive balance, players won the time-of-service award to four rookies (the top two in each league in the rookie vote of the year), draft incentives for teams that call pre-arbitration players, and new pre-arbitration bonus pools and draft lottery structures.

The owners get the expanded playoffs they wanted — a 12-team format — along with the chance to negotiate an international draft later this summer.

The National League will now employ a designated hitter, as the American League has done since 1973.

Other highlights:

▪ The first six picks in the draft will be subject to a lottery, intended to reduce tanking, a concern of the players.

▪ Rule changes can begin in the 2023 season. There will be a 45-day window for MLB to implement any rules, subject to approval by a competition committee that includes multiple players and an umpire.

▪ There will be a new fourth surcharge added to the first CBT threshold.

▪ The union’s grievance over the pandemic-shortened 2020 season was dropped, but the existing ones over revenue sharing were not.

▪ Teams that bring in pre-offer players who finish in the top five in either Cy Young or MVP voting will receive draft pick awards.

The talks featured substantial bickering, though the rhetoric never publicly reached the fiery heights that accompanied intense talks ahead of the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

The lockout began in Dallas, where owners and players ran out of time at the last CBA in face-to-face negotiations.

On December 2, commissioner Rob Manfred said the lockdown was being used as a gambit to add urgency to the talks to avoid the ‘disastrous’ outcome of lost games, but MLB did not present players with a proposal only 43 days later. the lockout has begun.

Nine days of negotiations in Jupiter, Florida ended in failure last week, with Manfred announcing a deadline to play a 162-game schedule had passed and he was canceling the first two series of the season.

When talks resumed in New York this week, MLB said there was still time to play a full schedule and set a new deadline (Tuesday) to reach an agreement.

This delay plus an extension has come and gone. Manfred announced on Wednesday that the first four series of the season would be canceled.

Shortly after that statement, it became known that the parties were still talking about an international draft and a compensation draft, two issues MLB wanted to clear up. They ended the impasse on Thursday morning and proceeded to resolve the remaining issues until the agreement was reached.

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Michael Silverman can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.

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