Everything to know about Major League Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement

MLB owners, players reach deal to salvage 162-game schedule

San Diego Padres left fielder Allen Cordoba passes a logo for Play Ball. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File) (Gregory Bull, Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROITMajor League Baseball’s owners and players finally reached an agreement Thursday (March 10) that ended the 99-day lockout and got the sport back on track toward a full regular season.

The new collective bargaining agreement includes a new timeline for Opening Day, on-field rule changes, updated financial details and much more.

Here’s what we’ve learned:

Scheduling

  • Players report to spring training on Sunday (March 13) -- it’s being called a “mandatory” reporting date.
    • Players facing visa issues will be given more time.
  • Spring training games start around March 18.
  • The arbitration exchange date is March 22, meaning that’s when teams and players facing arbitration will make their salary pitches.
    • Arbitration hearings will take place during the season.
  • Opening Day is rescheduled to April 7.
  • Three days have been added to the end of the regular season to make up for one of the canceled series from March 31-April 6.
  • Other canceled games will be made up as nine-inning doubleheaders.
  • The full 162-game regular season is back on.
  • World Series dates remain the same as previously scheduled.
  • Games will be held in Asia, the Dominican Republic, London, Mexico, Paris and Puerto Rico over the next five years.
  • Starting in 2023, each team will play at least one series against every other team in MLB, leading to fewer games against divisional foes.

Voting

  • All eight members of the MLBPA subcommittee voted against the league’s proposal.
  • 26 of 30 team player representatives voted to approve the proposal.
  • Only the representatives from the New York Mets, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros voted against the proposal. All four teams have close ties to the subcommittee.

Rule changes

  • The postseason will now include 12 teams -- six from each league.
    • The second round of the playoffs will not be re-seeded. The No. 1 seed in each league will play the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 series, and the No. 2 seed in each league will play the winner of the No. 3 vs. No. 6 series.
  • End-of-season ties will no longer be decided by an extra game (“Game 163″). Tiebreaker formulas will be used.
  • The designated hitter is now universal, so pitchers won’t bat in either league.
  • Doubleheaders will consist of nine-inning games, eliminating the seven-inning doubleheader rule from the past two seasons.
  • Extra innings will not start with a runner on second base, eliminating the rule from the past two seasons.

Financial details

  • The new luxury tax thresholds start at $230 million and increase to $244 million by the end of the CBA.
  • The pre-arbitration bonus poll will be $50 million each year.
  • A new luxury tax threshold will penalize teams more severely if they reach $60 million over the lowest threshold.
  • The minimum salary will start at $700,000 and go up $20 million per year, ending at $780,000.

Service time

  • Players who finish top two in Rookie of the Year voting receive a year of service time, regardless of when they were called up.
  • Teams that promote prospects to their Opening Day rosters will be eligible to receive draft picks if those players finish in the top three in Rookie of the Year voting or top five in MVP or Cy Young voting.
  • The number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season is capped at five.

Nuts and bolts

  • MLB’s amateur draft will be 20 rounds.
  • The first six teams in the draft order will be determined by a lottery.
  • The union agreed to drop its grievance over the 2020 pandemic season.
  • Player uniforms will include advertising patches for the first time.
  • Player helmets will include decal advertisements for the first time.
  • MLB has to notify players within 45 days to implement rules changes, such as banning shifts, making bases larger and implementing a pitch clock.
    • A committee to discuss rule changes will be made up of six league appointees, four players and one umpire representative. This means MLB has the majority in these decisions.
  • This offseason’s Rule 5 draft has been canceled.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.