FAQ on the CBA negotiations

March 10th, 2022

Q: Why did MLB lock out the players?

A: This lockout is necessary because we cannot allow an expired agreement to again cause an in-season strike and a missed World Series, like we experienced in 1994. We all owe you, our fans, better than that. MLB remains committed to offering solutions at the table and reaching a fair agreement for both sides as quickly as possible.

Q: How did we end up at this point?

A: MLB has worked tirelessly over the past several months to offer solutions and find compromise to address the players’ concerns. MLB’s current proposals already represent significant improvements for players, adding to an economic system that has long been the most player-friendly in professional sports. After recognizing that we weren’t making the progress we hoped, MLB even requested the involvement of an impartial federal mediator to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock. Unfortunately, the union rejected that request. MLB’s offer to the MLBPA includes:

  • A $129,500 increase in the minimum salary to $700,000, for 2022, and raises in every year of the agreement.
  • The first-ever bonus pool to reward high-performing players who have yet to reach salary arbitration. This $40 million proposal, along with the increase in minimum salary, would direct close to $500 million to pre-arbitration players over the life of the deal.
  • Extending the Designated Hitter to the National League.
  • Implementing a new Draft lottery system, one that covers more picks (6) than those employed by other leagues, as a way to address the players’ concerns regarding competition.
  • An incentive for teams to call up top prospects on Opening Day by giving every player who finishes first or second in Rookie of the Year voting a full year of service time.
  • Increased luxury-tax threshold that affects only a small number of teams while accepting the players’ long-held ask to eliminate the qualifying offer system (i.e. direct Draft pick compensation).

The lockout does not affect our resolve to work with the Players Association to reach a fair agreement and provide our fans with baseball as soon as possible.

Q: When is Opening Day?

Because we could not reach a deal by the end of February, we were forced to push back Opening Day – originally set for March 31 – a few days, and then a few more beyond that when a deal could not be reached through the first week of March. As of March 9, each team’s first four series of the year have been taken off the schedule, and Opening Day is now set for April 14. We will update you when we have more information.

Q: Will there be a 2022 season?

A: It is extremely disappointing that we could not reach an agreement and had to shorten the schedule, but we are committed to reaching an agreement as soon as possible.

Q: Can I still buy tickets?

A: Yes, teams will continue selling and disseminating tickets for the 2022 season as we work toward finalizing the schedule.

Q: What happens to the Spring Training tickets that I already have for games that have been canceled? Can I get a refund?

A: You can either get a full refund or credit for a future game.

Q: How does this impact free agency and other player transactions?

A: During a work stoppage, teams are not permitted to sign free agents, offer contract extensions and renegotiations, waive/option/release players or conduct trades. Additionally, salary arbitration and the Major League Rule 5 Draft have been put on hold pending a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Q: When will remaining free agents be able to sign contracts?

A: We are working hard to compromise and find solutions to reach an agreement. Once a new deal is signed, remaining free agents will be able to sign new contracts.

Q: When will Spring Training start?

A: MLB is working to reach an agreement as soon as possible so that we can start Spring Training within days of signing a new CBA.

Q: Can players hold their own practices and workouts?

A: Players are allowed to work out on their own and may follow a team’s workout plans that were developed prior to the work stoppage, but they are not allowed to share updates with or receive feedback from coaches or trainers about their offseason training, including strength and conditioning activities. Team personnel are also prohibited from providing instructional videos or other aids for players to use on their own.

Q: Can players still access certain resources provided by teams?

A: Yes. Teams can continue to provide players with human resources-type information, such as employment, payroll and tax information and advice with respect to COVID-19 testing, vaccines and/or treatment.

Q: Are players still getting paid?

A: Players are only paid during the regular season. During a work stoppage, teams are precluded from making any payments or providing anything else of value to players, with the exception of compensation earned and vested prior to the work stoppage (e.g., deferred compensation, signing bonuses, termination pay and option buyouts).

Q: Will players still make appearances on Club programming or events?

A: During a work stoppage, players are not allowed to appear at any team event or participate in any team programming across any broadcast or media channels, including social media.

Q: What does this mean for the Minor Leagues?

A: The 2022 Minor League season -- and players who are not on the 40-man roster or signed to a Major League contract -- are unaffected. Minor League teams will continue to hold minicamps, Minor League Spring Training and extended spring training for these players. Teams are continuing to adhere to the terms of all Professional Development League License Agreements with their affiliates and will be operating their Minor League operations uninterrupted.