Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday afternoon, finally halting a 99-day owner-imposed lockout fraught with rampant tension and colored by heightened mistrust.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, the face of pointed criticism from players throughout the process, said he “could not be more excited about the future of our game” and vowed to work more closely with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark with hopes of bridging a noticeable gap.
MLB free-agency tracker: Latest moves, grades and analysis
With the end of the second-longest work stoppage in the game’s history, the market officially opened, paving the way for trades and free-agent signings. Players are required to report to their respective spring training facilities by Sunday, and the first exhibition games will take place four or five days later. Opening Day will come on April 7, a week later than originally scheduled, but 162 games will nonetheless be played.
Clark scheduled a separate news conference Friday.
Other changes within the new CBA include:
• A 12-team postseason, with the top two division winners earning first-round byes.
• A 45-day window to impose rule changes, decided on by a new joint committee, beginning in 2023.
• A provision that prevents teams from optioning eligible players more than five times within a season.
• Two measures aimed at limiting service-time manipulation: a full year of service time awarded to players who finish within the top two in respective Rookie of the Year voting, and draft picks awarded to teams that promote players on Opening Day who finish among the top vote-getters for major awards.
• Additional advertising through patches on jerseys and decals on helmets.
“I have a great job, but one of the negative parts of it is when you have a situation like this, where you’re depriving the fans of the game,” he said. “I feel a great weight from that. When we learned that they ratified, I felt that weight came off my shoulders.”
业主之间的紧张关系和当前的players dates back to the ratification of the previous CBA in 2016, which paved the way for an era rife with tanking, service-time manipulation and cost-efficiency that prompted player salaries to decrease at a time of booming league revenues. The bitterness escalated when the two sides failed to come to a mutual agreement for the COVID-19-shortened season in 2020 and boiled over as negotiations for a new CBA ensued.
The union — looking to incentivize competition, put more money in the pockets of young players, diminish caps on big-market spending and revitalize the middle class of free agency — initially sought structural changes such as earlier free agency, automatic arbitration after two years and cuts in revenue sharing. Their first core-economics proposal came in May, but the league didn’t counter until August. Manfred instituted a lockout on Dec. 2, stating hopes that it would trigger accelerated bargaining, and the two sides went 43 days without talking.
Eight days of negotiations in Jupiter, Florida — which saw the union relent on prior requests around free agency, arbitration eligibility and revenue sharing — ended with Manfred postponing the start of Opening Day on March 1. The league imposed another deadline for Tuesday, this time for a full 162-game season, and finally agreed to higher competitive balance thresholds, seemingly carving a path for a deal. But the international draft, an unpopular mechanism for Latin American players who prefer a free market, emerged as a divisive issue that took two days to navigate around.
Manfred told Rogers on Thursday that he had serious concerns that the league would miss a chunk of the season and that the games would not be made up.
曼弗雷德对罗杰斯说：“有些地方我担心我们会错过很多时间。”“每当您认为自己走了，看起来您可以达成协议，然后就不会发生，这是令人担忧的。我们有两个 - 一个在木星，本周早些时候。当您开始获得动力并且无法关闭时，这令人担忧。”
在周四的新闻发布会上,曼弗雷德问我f something could have been done to get a deal done sooner, without pushing back Opening Day and canceling several spring training games.
现在，该协议将引发接下来的四个星期的疯狂，参加这项运动。超过200名自由球员 - 最著名的是弗雷迪·弗里曼（Freddie Freeman），卡洛斯·科雷亚（Carlos Correa），特雷弗（Trevor）故事和克里斯·布莱恩特（Kris Bryant） - 仍然没有签名。奥克兰田径队和辛辛那提红人等现金短缺的球队有望交易明星球员。规则5草案将被取消，但将安排仲裁听证会。这一切都将在春季训练中作为背景进行。
“I do believe — I hope — that the players will see the effort we made to address their concerns in this agreement as an olive branch in terms of building a better relationship,” Manfred said. “We built some processes into this agreement where we’re gonna be interacting more regularly with players on topics like the international draft and rule changes. I think those opportunities for positive interaction help to build a better relationship.”
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