Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association have come to a new collective bargaining agreement for the next five years according to Steve Adams of mlbtraderumors.com. Due to the fact the parties came to an agreement on Thursday, they were able to salvage a 162 game regular season, which is set to commence on April 7.
The season was to start at the end of March, but due to the ongoing labor dispute, the season has been delayed one week. All teams will continue to play a full season this year, and make up the six or seven games missed as the season progresses.
Here are some of the interesting highlights agreed upon on Thursday.
1) Free agency. According to Matt Johnson of sportsnaut.com, teams will no longer receive draft pick compensation for losing a player to free agency. There are some big names that are still available in free agency. They include 2020 National League Most Valuable Player Freddie Freeman, Trevor Story, Carlos Correa, and Kris Bryant.
2) Minimum salary raised. The previous minimum wage for MLB players was $570,500. That will now increase to $700,000 in 2022, $720,000 in 2023, $740,000 in 2024, $760,000 in 2025, and $780,000 in 2026 according to Eric Stephen of SB Nation. It is interesting that minimum wage is increased by $20,000 increments in each year of the agreement.
3) More playoff teams. Traditionalists will not like this change much, but we are now seeing 12 teams making the postseason instead of 10. There will be six teams from the American League in the playoffs and six teams from the National League. The top two division winners from each league get a bye to the second round, while the third best divisional winner will play the lowest seeded team in each league. The top two wildcard teams in each league will also play against each other. The new first round will be a best of three.
4) Competitive balance tax. The competitive balance tax will be $230 million in 2022, and rise to $244 million in 2026. The intention of the competitive balance tax is to prevent runaway spending.
5) Designated hitter in the National League. Major League Baseball is now making the DH universal. Pitchers will no longer be hitting regularly in the senior circuit.