MLB lockout unlocked


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The MLB and MLB Player’s Association came to an agreement after their 99 day standstill. Opening day is set for April 7.

Drew Hawkins, Staff Writer

The MLB was in its ninth lockout and first loss of regular season games in 27 years. They had been in disagreement with the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) regarding certain rules and salary. The owners and commissioner Rob Manfred decided to cancel the first week of games, adding pressure to the MLBPA to make a deal. Players couldn’t be traded or paid until both sides came to an agreement. That was until both sides came to an agreement, stopping the 99 day long lockout. 

The average salary of players has gone down 6.4% in the last four years according to the Associated Press. Baseball teams don’t have a definitive salary cap like other professional sports leagues do. Instead the MLB has a luxury tax. Team owners who exceed a certain amount of yearly staff salary must pay this tax. The 2021 season’s pay cap was $210 million. The MLBPA wanted the 2022 pay cap to be increased to $238 million and $250 million in 2024 which would offer them an opportunity to increase their salaries. Because if their pay exceeds the salary cap, then they have less money from the luxury tax.

With the new agreement, the league minimum will start at $700,000 in 2022 and by 2026 will increase to $780,000. Along with this, the salary cap in 2022 will increase to $230 million and by 2026 will increase to $244 million. 

The MLBPA made their first offer to the MLB March 6. Their offer included adding a pitch clock, bigger bases, and getting rid of the shift. 

Adding a pitch clock makes the game move faster but will make the players and pitchers feel rushed for a while because so many players are used to playing the game at their speed. In 2018, pitchers took 23.8 seconds between each pitch and threw 146 pitches every game. The average length of a game on average is 3 hours and 10 minutes. If games were shorter, it might make it more entertaining for new viewers to watch. 

Bigger bases were added to increase steals. The league average for steals has significantly dropped over the years. By adding size, they are hoping players will steal more often which then makes the game a little bit faster. 

The shift has been in the game ever since teams realized certain batters can’t hit to certain parts of the field, so they started shifting fielders to certain spots in the field. Most players complained because it meant that those fielders usually aren’t playing their designated spot. The older generation didn’t have a problem with the shift because it means that players just need to learn to hit everywhere. 

Almost every player in the MLB has a strong dislike for Commissioner Manfred. Trevor Bauer, a pitcher for the Dodgers, protests in various ways. Bauer has done things like wearing a shirt during a press conference that says “Not my logo, don’t fine me.”

The reason  Bauer made his shirt is because most players feel the way they have been treated by the league’s higher ups has become worse and worse over time. Players have been fined for any bit of trolling or protesting against the commissioner. 

“One of the things that I’m supposed to do is promote a good relationship with our players,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said after the news of the agreement. “I’ve tried to do that. I think that I have not been successful in that. I think that it begins with small steps.”

Though Manfred said that, it is for the future to tell if he acts on his words. 

With the new agreement, players are to arrive at their respective spring training facilities March 13. Opening day is scheduled to start April 7. A week later than when opening day was first scheduled. Each MLB team will still be able to play 162 games regardless though.