After a rough week of negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement, the 2022 season is starting to look like it might be in trouble. Last week ended with MLB requesting a federal mediator to step in to the negotiations, but the MLBPA rejected the request. At this point, spring training is nearly certain to be delayed. MLB could lift the lockout and continue negotiations during spring training, but that appears to be unlikely at this point. The end of February is seen as the deadline for an on-time start to the regular season, meaning there’s just three weeks left to get a deal done.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking to the minor leagues for baseball, you’re going to get a little more of it in 2022. MLB announced late last week that they expanded the Triple-A season to 150 games. Last year, they only ran a 120 game season after the pandemic delayed the start of the minor leagues. The Nashville Sounds posted their updated schedule that includes a three-game home series against the Memphis Redbirds to end the season.
The minor leagues will also feature some familiar faces in the front office. Former Brewer Rickie Weeks and former Pirate Pedro Alvarez are joining the minor league coaching staff in the upcoming season. Weeks officially joins as an assistant in player development, and Alvarez joins as an assistant in player development and baseball operations. Both are looking to continue their careers in the front office, though the exact goal is still undecided. Weeks has been taking classes in sports management at Florida International University and expects to get his degree in May.
Finally, the longest tenured umpire is retiring from baseball. Joe West has officially retired, after a career of 5,460 regular-season games called, which is a record. Gerry Davis, Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman, and Fieldin Culbrith also retired. In addition, MLB added new umipres to the MLB staff, which includes Roberto Ortiz as the first umpire born in Puerto Rico to be added to the major league staff.