Q: Why did MLB lock out the players?
A: Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 Championship Season. We hope that the lockout will jump-start the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It’s simply not a viable option. Yet, from the beginning, they have been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise or collaborate on solutions.
To be clear: This does not necessarily mean games will be cancelled. In fact, we’re taking this step now because it accelerates the urgency for an agreement with as much runway as possible to avoid doing damage to the 2022 season. Delaying this process further would only put Spring Training, Opening Day and the rest of the season further at risk – and 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.
To put things into perspective, across the last 40 years of collective bargaining negotiations, games have only been missed during seasons that began without a Basic Agreement in place. In offseasons when MLB was forced to implement a work stoppage, no games were missed.
Q: How did we end up at this point?
A: We worked tirelessly over the last several months to find compromise, offering to make the current system even better for players, and attempting to address concerns raised by the Players Association. We offered to establish a minimum payroll for all clubs to meet for the first time in baseball history; to allow the majority of players to reach free agency earlier through an age-based system that would eliminate the Players Association’s concern about alleged “service-time manipulation”; and to increase compensation for younger players, including a historic increase to the minimum salary for players with one or two years of Major League service. In an attempt to spur negotiations towards an agreement, we told the Players Association that we were willing to extend the Designated Hitter to the National League; to create a new draft lottery system, similar to those employed by other leagues; and to increase the luxury-tax threshold that affects only a small number of teams. 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: Will there be a 2022 season?
A: Giving fans a full 2022 season is exactly what we will spend every day working hard to achieve.
Q: Can I still buy tickets?
A: Yes, teams will continue selling and disseminating tickets for the 2022 season as we continue to plan for a full regular season without disruption.
Q: What happens to the tickets that I already have? Can I get a refund?
A: There is currently no disruption or impact on the tickets you currently possess. Refund policies are handled on an individual team-by-team basis.
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, there will be ample time for remaining free agents to sign new contracts.
Q: Will Spring Training start on time?
A: We are still currently planning for Spring Training to start on time and for a full 2022 season without disruption and will spend every day working around the clock to achieve that goal.
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 don’t get paid during the offseason. 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 -- will be 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.