Lockout Ends, Baseball’s Back in April as MLB and Players Reach Labor Deal

The decision to end the MLB lockout came after owners approved a new labor contract

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, with the players voting to accept a deal from management to rescue the remaining 162-game season, starting April 7.

MLB formally lifted the lockout on its 99th day following the owners’ approval of a five-year contract with a 30-0 vote, KTLA reports.

The lockout began on December 2, following the breakdown of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement before the start of that month.

“I am genuinely thrilled to say Major League Baseball is back and we’re going to play 162 games,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “I want to start by apologizing to our fans. I know the last few months have been difficult.”

The 184 games canceled by Manfred were postponed instead and the regular season was extended until Oct. 5, averting the first regular-season game cancellations due to a labor dispute since 1995. Roughly three games per team will be made up as part of doubleheaders.

The players let several management “deadlines” pass before MLB made another final offer Thursday, claiming it was the absolute last opportunity to preserve full salary and service time, according to KTLA.

“Our union endured the second-longest work stoppage in its history to achieve significant progress in key areas that will improve not just current players’ rights and benefits, but those of generations to come,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement.

The union’s executive board approved management’s most recent offer with a 26-12 vote.

Under the new deal, the luxury tax threshold will rise from $210 million to $242 million by 2026, the minimum salary will go from $570,500 to roughly $700,000 in 2022, and there will be a new $50 million bonus pool for players not yet eligible for arbitration.

The agreement also calls for a playoff expansion from 10 to 12 teams and permits advertising on team uniforms.

“I love our game,” Manfred said. “Having said that, since I’ve been commissioner, I’ve talked about the need to make changes in some of our rules to enhance the entertainment value of our product for the benefit of our fans. And I think the new agreement opens up an opportunity that we can work with the players to make sure that we can make good rule changes that work for our fans.”

Yankees pitcher and players’ union executive committee member Gerrit Cole told the Associated Press, The deal pushes the game forward. It addresses a lot of the things that the players in the game should be focused on: the competitive integrity aspect of it.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels both celebrated on Twitter after the announcement, with the former writing “Baseball’s back, tell a friend,” alongside a teaser video.

LAFC and the newly-crowned Super Bowl winners, The Rams, both joined in, tweeting at the Dodgers.

Both of the city’s baseball teams will play a series of exhibition matches beginning on March 18. The two teams will both play their first regular-season fixture on April 14, The Dodgers facing the Cincinnati Reds and the Angels taking on the Texas Rangers.

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