On December 1, 2021, the collective bargaining agreement between the MLB Players Association and Major League Baseball expired. The result was a league-wide lockout. This is the ninth time in LB history that there has been a work stoppage.
But it’s December, and we don’t need the players to “work” until Opening Day. So what does this all mean?
We have researched all the details to provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of what you need to know about the 2021-2022 MLB lockout.
It’s All About the Money
As with most work stoppages, neither side can agree on finances.
The players believe that teams have too much control over them and would like to be paid more earlier in their careers. Currently, teams have six years of major league control over a player. This means that a player brought up at the age of 24 would not be eligible to enter free agency until 30 years old. This causes many players to enter the open market after their prime and results in shorter, less prosperous contracts.
The MLB has a Tanking Problem.
Without any restrictions, teams are allowed to financially operate in any fashion they choose to. As a result, projected last place/small market teams often minimize the amount of money they spend on their payrolls. And while this does not impact the highest caliber players, the middle-tier veteran players are relegated to the benches of contending teams or, worse, forced to remain free agents throughout the season.
There currently is no salary cap in Major League Baseball. It’s a problem, and the players are requesting a change in the form of a salary floor, which would require teams to spend a minimum amount of money on payroll every season. There is, however, a Luxury Tax, which is a penalty for exceeding a certain spending threshold. In 2021, the Luxury Tax was set at $210,000,000. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies were forced to pay the Luxury Tax.
Free Agency & Trades
As of December 1, teams are barred from signing free agents or trading players on their rosters. Furthermore, no team personnel is allowed to speak with the media. And worst of all, no players are entitled to receive instruction or communication from their coaches. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation that we hope is resolved sooner rather than later.
2022 Lockout Dates to Know
The following are dates to keep in mind as we progress through this lockout. History has shown that Spring Training tends to serve as a tentative deadline for both sides to agree.
- February 15 - Pitcher and Catchers are scheduled to begin reporting to Spring Training
- February 26 - MLB Spring Training games begin
- March 31 - MLB Opening Day 2022
With over three months remaining until regular-season games begin, it’s reasonable to expect the players and owners to find a middle ground. And given the financial burden that 2020 placed on both parties, it would be advantageous to reach an amicable agreement in time for the regular season.
Potential Changes in the New CBA
While the owners will not meet all of the players’ demands, look for a few changes. A couple possible changes include a universal DH, a 14-team playoff structure, an increased Luxury Tax threshold, an implemented clock for pitchers, and a rearrangement to the current arbitration system.
We will do our best to keep updating this information to keep you informed of the lockout situation.
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