MLB, MLBPA reach tentative agreement; prepare for frenzy

(Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire)

Baseball is back.

OK not officially — owners will vote for ratification at 5 p.m. CT — but Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement on the 99th day of the lockout.

The union reps approved the terms by a vote of 26-12. Assuming owners hold up their end of the bargain (at your peril), Rob Manfred will hold a press conference, and free agency will resume.

(UPDATE: The owners unanimously approved the agreement. Baseball is indeed back.)

As games started being removed from the calendar, I thought that an agreement would be struck quickly, or it would take months. The players wouldn’t be able to gain leverage until the league missed enough games to start losing TV money, so anything in between would be senseless damage, as opposed to something painfully accomplished.

Now you’ll see a “Back to the Future” type restoration, where players’ pictures will return to team websites, and the two weeks of missing games will return to the calendar.

The shape of the season will be slightly different — Opening Day is reportedly set for April 7 for most teams — but the schedule will comprise 162 games, with an appropriate amount of (nine-inning) doubleheaders to make up the gap.

What else is new?

No 2021 Rule 5 draft: The league decided it wasn’t worth it this year, given all the transactional activity that’s already going to be taking place over the next four weeks. Carlos Pérez won’t be going anywhere.

League minimum increase: The minimal salary now starts at $700,000, and will grow to $780,000 over the course of the five years.

Bonus pool: Pre-arbitration players can now receive performance-based bonuses from a $50 million pool.

Uniform advertisements: Teams can now sell jersey patches and batting helmet decals to the highest bidder. That’s unfortunate, but I suppose the Nike swoosh on the shoulder already ruined the clean look of the uniform.

Faster rule changes: MLB can now implement rule changes in 45 days starting in 2023. Look for a pitch clock, shift ban and larger bases to start, although they’re not necessarily a given.

There’s more, but we may as well wait for the whole thing to be ratified so we can discuss the specifics and speculate on potential ramifications with more accuracy. In the meantime, wait a couple hours for ratification, and then hold onto your butts, for Major League Baseball has four weeks to make up for three months of activity.


  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

    View all posts
Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ted Mulvey

I’m curious to see how quickly all the players’ likenesses reappear on MLB’s site once the owners officially ratify this. For now, Jason Bilous & Co. remain faceless, gray entities.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ted Mulvey
Joliet Orange Sox

The union executive board voted 8-0 against the deal. The team reps voted 26-4 for it with NYY, NYM, HOU, and STL being the teams against. I’m surprised how different the executive board vote is from team rep vote.

Ted Mulvey

Eugene Freedman made the interesting point that 5 of the 8 on the exec board is comprised of Lindor/Scherzer (Mets), formerly Paxton (Yankees), Jason Castro (Astros) and Andrew Miller (Cardinals). So I suppose that’s where the four dissents on the team rep side are likely to come from. But yeah, I wonder how much pressure the other team reps were facing from the rest of the players to accept.


I think team reps poll their teammates and vote how their team wants to vote. I could be wrong.

Joliet Orange Sox

I believe you are correct jorgefabregas. Still surprising that the exec board doing the negotiating and the membership were so far apart.

Ted Mulvey

I think you’re exactly right. Which is what I’m thinking: there must have been plenty of players from the rank and file who were willing to accept and said so during polling.

Trooper Galactus

Given the number of the pre-arb members (roughly a third of them by my math), that’s a sizeable portion of the union that is looking at about a 25% pay raise in year one of these terms, with the opportunity to get quite a bit more. The vets may have been representing, but the little guys made out relatively well, even if they still do lag behind other leagues in some aspects.


Looking forward to the 5:10 PM CST story on signing Kris Bryant and Freddie Freeman


Does a universal DH make the Sox glut of 1B/DH types more valuable?


Can’t hurt

Trooper Galactus

Except Hahn is the sort of GM who would trade for Josh Bell, Jorge Soler, or Nelson Cruz and consider him the Opening Day right fielder.


You’re giving Hahn a lot more credit than I’d expect based on the track record in RF…

Trooper Galactus

I mean, every one of them would suck the instant they signed with the White Sox, so…


Is it easy/possible to determine how many White Sox players would have come up against the limit for times sent down and back up in a season last year? Wondering how much impact that will have.


Jim covered this recently and actually looked at many different years, and if I remember right, the new rule would have been very insignificant to the White Sox over that time, let alone last year. My lack of memory about the details is why I’m never bragging about my Sporcle scores with others. Let me see if I can find that link for you.


Here’s the link. Last year, it was basically Matt Foster.


I think then the greatest effect will be teams trying to avoid the limit, the same way NBA coaches used to be very conservative about players in foul trouble.

I think for the up-and-down guys, they will be slower to call up, slower to send down, and more likely to use a phantom IL stint.

Last edited 2 years ago by jorgefabregas

I hope Hahn is well rested. He’s got serious work to do. Hopefully Jerry puts his greed in check for once and allows him to do it.

Joliet Orange Sox

No more game 163’s. Ties will be decided by rules similar to NFL tiebreakers. I’ll miss game 163’s.


Ill miss them as well but i guess it gives a little more weight to the season back if it loses some from the larger playoffs.


Bummer. Why wouldn’t the owners be horny for what is basically an extra playoff game?


Scheduling would be the primary advantage. It’s probably a trade off for the extra time needed for slightly extended playoffs.


Makes sense

As Cirensica

Jerry has new Apple money. That’s to be worth a Conforto

Trooper Galactus

Jerry believes a Conforto in the pocket is worth two on the field.


Very thankful the distraction of baseball is on its way. I couldn’t say how much of a win this is for the union but if they’re happyish I’m happyish. Now lets sign some dudes


I’m curious how many backdoor conversations were being had during the lockout. GMs may have had to be more careful talking with agents, but they were certainly still talking with each other about trades. I think we’ll know pretty quickly if Hahn was able to do anything with Kimbrel, or if he’s going to start the season on the team.


I am really hoping for an NBA-style free agent / trade bonanza 5 minutes after free agency starts


I think it’s going to be absolutely nuts when you combine plans GMs were formulating with teams being able to spend more before hitting the new 2022 CBT threshold.


I’m also curious how the increased CBT threshold for this year will impact competition for free agents. Some of the teams that were treating that as a cap all of a sudden have more money to spend, if they choose to do so. Are the White Sox now one of those teams that might spend more than originally planned, or was their budget set independent of the CBT threshold?


The Sox have $34M between their current CBT number and the threshold. Hopefully they use it all.

Last edited 2 years ago by joewho112

Ludicrous Speed! GO!


Hey all, great day for baseball! Excited to have real baseball to watch while I play the latest iteration of The Show.

I just realized today I have been sitting on five 30-day guest passes for The Athletic. I don’t know how it works (i.e. if you need to give CC details, hoping not) but thought I’d share them here since there is bound to be tons of transaction news/speculation flying around over the next 30 days. If you do claim one, just reply to this comment with the number. If it doesn’t work, at least I tried.

Each one is single use


Go Sox!


@ParisSox, you’re going to get to see some baseball in-person.

Joliet Orange Sox

Does MLB know the difference between cities, territories, countries, and continents?


I like that Healey described the list as “places.”


I just woke up to this! I actually came here to post that. Talk about morning wood!!

Josh Nelson

2022 Chicago White Sox Schedule officially updated

Joliet Orange Sox

“The use of deadlines, extending deadlines, figuring out when to set them and when to back off them is part of the art of collective bargaining…I think we used deadlines effectively.” -Rob Manfred

Rob Manfred is a special kind of genius.

Joliet Orange Sox

More from Manfred: “One of the things that I’m supposed to do is promote a good relationship with our players. I’ve tried to do that. I think that I have not been successful in that.”

As Cirensica

i will be happy if Manfred is not quoted for about 5 more years.

Trooper Galactus

Or, better yet, he just shuts the fuck up.


Say what you will, but he avoided a repeat of that nightmare ending to the 1994 season.


How would larger bases affect the game? I guess it would make them slightly closer to one another so it’d be a teeny bit easier to steal. Also higher chance of being struck by a batted ball. There must be some other reason I’m unaware of the owners have kept asking for it.


As I thought on this some more I came to the conclusion that it could, by some small unknown amount, increase offensive production without increasing home runs. I imagine that’s something people would enjoy as the entire game seems to be devolving towards the three-outcome scenario (K,BB,HR). Changing the ball, which they’ve done many times, could lead to more base hits, but along with it would be more home runs too and higher EVs. And you don’t wanna do something crazy like shorten the basepaths or change the distance of the pitching rubber, because that could also have several other undesired effects. Larger bases gets the league closer to what they want to see, more hits and xbh, with less risk of changing things they don’t want to change.


Is there some chance that part of the CBA is that the Sox will get a new manager? Kind of sobering to think that even if the Sox make a positive move or two, TLR is still the manager. More than a year after the hire I still cannot believe they actually chose him, and that he’s still here.

Trooper Galactus

I remember asking a PO Sox during the season after one of Tony’s boneheaded gaffes how long this bullshit could possibly be allowed to endure, and I think Josh said it would be ridiculous if it went on for more than one season. Well, here we are.


Funny how things all came together the day after Congress started suggesting that they revisit the MLB antitrust exemption.


Shocked by the lack deals last night