After 43 days, the MLB and the MLBPA agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement

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Brian Barr, Staff Writer

After a long three months of negotiating and waiting, the MLB lockout has finally ended.  The season will now begin on April 7 with a full 162 game season still being played, despite the MLB canceling each team’s opening series.  The biggest change is that the playoffs will now have twelve teams instead of ten, still less than the owners’ previously desired fourteen-team format.  The new postseason format will have the top two division winners getting a bye in the first round.  Also, there will now be NFL-like formulas used when a tie occurs to make the playoffs, replacing the old tiebreaker games the MLB used to have.  

“I think that a bigger playoffs will be good because it will make the games much more competitive for more teams later in the season and lead to more big moves at the deadline for a late playoff push,” said junior Nic Restivo.

The luxury tax threshold was another one of the major problems in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations.  This week, the MLB agreed to move the first threshold up to $230 million in the first year of the deal, and increase it to $244 in the fifth and final year of the deal.  This is a sizable increase compared to the $210 million threshold in the old deal.  There is also another tier being added, nicknamed the “Steve Cohen Tax,” which will be at $60 million above the starting number.

Another wrinkle in the new CBA will be the use of a draft lottery in an effort to disincentivize tanking.  This system will have six teams in the lottery, where big-market teams will not be able to have a lottery pick more than once in a row and small-market teams will not be able to have a lottery pick more than twice in a row.  Once they have reached the maximum number of lottery picks in a row, they will not be able to have a draft pick higher than tenth in the next season.  The lottery odds for the first pick will be set in the opposite order of win percentage, and have each of the bottom three teams set at 16.5 percent.  

A major talking point for the players was changing how service time will work.  Players saw teams intentionally keep prospects in the minor leagues in order to delay their free agency years and keep them around for another season.  Now, any player that finishes top two in the rookie of the year voting will be given a full year of service time, whether he started in the MLB or not.  Clubs will also receive draft picks for promoting top prospects to the opening day roster if that player finished in the top three of Rookie of the Year or top five MVP or Cy Young voting.  Another vocal point for the MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) was that they wanted non-arbitration eligible players to earn money from a new bonus pool made for the top 100 young players.  Under this format, arbitration-ineligible players who win the MVP or Cy Young award will make an extra $2.5 million, and the runners-up will be able to make an extra $1.75 million.

“I think that they both were asking for too much.  In the end, I think the players just wanted to play.  Anymore games lost would be horrible and detrimental to the sport,” said freshman Nathan Jackman.

The MLBPA was also able to get a noticeable increase in minimum salary, from $570,500 to $700,000, roughly a 22 percent increase in the first year.  Following that, it will increase by $20,000 for the next couple of years ending up with a minimum of $780,000 in year five, the 2026 season.  A couple of other rule changes include a universal designated hitter throughout the MLB and  players  being optioned to the minor leagues five times per season.

“The long awaited ending of the lockout has been a major relief to all of us baseball fans. I can’t wait for opening day to arrive and see a full season,” said freshman Jacob Spence.