With MLB and the player’s union agreeing to a new CBA yesterday, Major League Baseball is back in action. Players will begin reporting to camp as early as today, and roster moves should start to come in quickly. We’re setting up for a busy few days. To start it off, let’s take a look at all of the changes that come with this new CBA.
First of all, here are the important points for this season:
- All players must report to camp by March 13. There will be a full 162 game season with full pay and service time. Some players will likely be delayed due to visa issues, though.
- For just this year, MLB and the union have agreed to cancel the Rule 5 draft. This will be the first time since 1891 that a form of this draft has not taken place. It’s a concession by the players since it means a few less players will make it to the majors, but with everything that’s about to happen, it’s not as important. This will mean a potentially loaded 2022 Rule 5 Draft this upcoming December, though.
- Say goodbye to a few rule changes that came from the pandemic seasons. The seven inning doubleheaders are gone, and no more runner on second to start each extra inning. We’re back to nine-inning doubleheaders and empty bases to start extras.
- For arbitration-eligible players, figures will be exchanged on March 22. Hearings will not happen until after the regular season starts, but players will be considered under contract, just without a determined salary.
- Rosters may be expanded to begin the season. This would still need to be discussed between MLB and the union, but with a shortened Spring Training and roster limits on pitchers, it’s a likely scenario.
- Players have expanded rights to negotiate endorsements with sports betting companies.
- For teams playing in Canada, unvaccinated players will not be able to travel with the team and will not receive pay or service time for those games. (The Brewers play the Blue Jays this season but only in Milwaukee, so this will not affect them in 2022 unless they meet in the postseason.)
- There will be a pre-arbitration bonus pool of $50 million available. (Jayson Stark has a breakdown of the payouts for the bonus pool, noting a player can only receive one payout per season, whichever is largest.)
- The minimum salary will be $700,000 in 2022 and increase $20,000 per year to $780,000 in the fifth and final year of the CBA.
- The competitive balance tax is set at $230 million for 2022 and will increase to $244 million by the fifth year. Surcharges will kick in at $250 million, $270 million, and $290 million.
- There will be a draft lottery for six picks.
- There is now a universal DH in both leagues.
- The amateur draft in June will be 20 rounds.
- Players can now be optioned a maximum of five times in a season.
- The postseason will expand to 12 teams. Tiebreaker games are gone, all will be handled now through tiebreaker formulas. New wild card round is a best-of-3 series with all three games hosted by the higher seeds. There will be no reseeding for the LDS.
- Beginning in 2023, divisional games will be reduced and every team will play every other team each season (per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal).
- Future rule changes will be handled by a committee of four active players, six MLB appointees, and one umpire. Potential changes include pitch clock, base size, defensive shifts, and automatic balls and strikes. Approved changes can be implemented with 45 days notice.
Those are the important points from the new CBA. As of this writing, the Brewers haven’t made any roster moves yet, but president David Stearns and manager Craig Counsell will speak with the media this morning at 10:15 am CST.