Major League Baseball players vote to end lockdown

Players voted to accept Major League Baseball’s latest offer for a new contract, paving the way for a 99-day lockout to end and a 162-game regular season to be safeguarded.

The union’s executive board approved the deal in a 26-12 vote, pending ratification by all players, a person familiar with the ballot said, speaking to The Associated Press under cover of anonymity because no ads were allowed.

MLB sent players an offer Thursday and gave them until 3 p.m. to accept in order to play a full season. The union announced the players’ vote around 3:25 p.m. The owners had discussed the deal before MLB sent it to the players’ association.

The deal will allow training camps to open this week in Florida and Arizona, more than three weeks after their scheduled Feb. 16 date. Opening day is scheduled for April 7, just over a week after the original March 31 date. .

The deal will also trigger a quick round of free will. Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant are among the 139 major leaguers still without teams, some of whom could benefit from adopting a universal designated hitter.

Talks to end the lockdown had bogged down over the draft issue on Wednesday, and Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled 93 more games, bringing the total to 184. He said Opening Day would not be prior to April 14.

In MLB’s proposal for an international draft, teams would rotate selection through different first-round quadrants over a four-year period. A slot system would be installed similar to what the union agreed to from 2012 for the amateur draft covering residents of the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The draft international proposal includes fixed slots that could not be negotiated by individuals. MLB estimates $17 million in additional spending for drafted international players above the $166.3 million spent by the 30 teams in 2021, plus an additional $6 million for undrafted players. The project would start in 2024.

International players would lose the right to choose which team they sign with. The draft age would be the year a player turns 16.

“The pushed narrative also ignores much of the history, including club corruption,” Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor tweeted. “This issue is bigger than Latin players or amateur players. It’s about all players and the future of the game.”

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