Optimistically, MLB fans had hoped negotiations between owners and players would pick up as the calendar turned to 2022. But, after a week, nothing has happened and no definitive end is in sight.
As no deal was completed before the Dec. 1, 2021 deadline, owners locked out the players over the collective bargaining agreement (CBA): the ultimate rulebook for the sport. The two sides couldn’t agree on a variety of issues, including a universal designated hitter, runners on second base to start extra innings and conditions for minor league players.
The last time a lockout neared, the sides agreed to a deal just a day before the CBA expired, which last happened in 2016. The former agreement was the first new CBA deal under current commissioner Rob Manfred, but at that point, Manfred hadn’t been as progressive on a rulebook overhaul.
However, as Manfred has often pushed new rules in hopes to speed up the game, the sport has entered its first lockout since 1995. The two sides have had minor discussions to end the current work stoppage, but nothing is encouraging enough to have much optimism. Players and owners last met before Christmas.
According to reports, no future discussions are scheduled — for now. Both sides are looking at the end of January as the key time to ramp up talks without affecting the season. At this point, pitchers and catcher are a little over a month away from reporting, and they cannot do so unless the CBA is agreed upon.
If the deal is completed by early February at the latest, the season should stay unaffected. But, once the lockout is ended, operations of a typical off-season must happen, including movement of the free agent market. Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Trevor Story and others are still unsigned and deals will likely happen quickly after the CBA agreement.
Owners and players remain at a standstill, but negotiations could ramp up in the coming weeks.