PLAY BALL! MLB season is set to begin April 7

MLB and MLBPA agree on a new labor deal.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — After a 99-day lockout, the MLB and MLB Players Association have finally agreed upon a new labor deal.

Below is a list of the new changes in the deal.

  • The playoffs will be expanded from 10 to 12 teams.
  • The National League will adopt the designated hitter.
  • A draft lottery will be conducted to discourage teams from tanking for a higher pick.
  • The Competitive Balance Tax increases to $230 million and will eventually reach $244 million in 2026.
  • The minimum salary of players with less than three years of major league service is increased to $700,000 and will increase to $780,000 in 2026, plus a bonus pool of $50 million will be distributed among those younger players who have yet to reach salary arbitration.
  • Player uniforms will now display advertisements with patches on jerseys and decals on batting helmets.
  • There will be a 45-day window for MLB to implement rules changes, including a pitch clock, ban on shifts, and larger bases in the 2023 season.
  • There will be draft-pick inducements to discourage service-time manipulation.
  • A limit has been added for the number of times a player can be optioned to the minor leagues in one season.

Negotiations for an international draft are still ongoing, but the league has until July 25 to decide. The international draft proposed by the league would be a 20-round, hard-slot system for 16-year-olds outside the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Now that a new deal has been signed, free agency can begin, and Atlanta Brave Freddie Freeman has yet to sign a contract.

Spring training camps open on March 11, with the mandatory reporting date being March 13. Spring training games will begin March 17, and Opening Day is set for April 7.

The defending World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves, will host the Cincinnati Reds and unveil their pennant.

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