Everything you need to know about the 2022 season

MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have reached an agreement for a new labor agreement in time to salvage a 162-game season, albeit with an altered schedule. The pact includes several changes to the structure of the sport, one of them being the expansion to the postseason.

To clear up any confusion about the new CBA’s campaign, schedule and specifics, here’s all the information for fans.

When does Spring Training start?

Players are due on Sunday, when camps officially start. The earliest players can report is Friday.

When do the preseason games start?

Tentatively March 18. The updated Spring Training schedule has so far not been finalized.

When is Opening Day?

On Thursday, April 7. That date is a week later than originally scheduled (March 31), which was pushed back due to labor negotiations. The games originally scheduled for March 31 through April 6 will be rescheduled for the end of the regular season finale and as part of nine-inning doubleheaders each.

What is the postseason format?

October’s field has expanded from 10 teams (five in each circuit) to 12 clubs (six in each league), with three division champions and three Wild Cards in each league. The top two division champions in each league will advance directly to the Division Series. The other four teams in each league will play best-of-three series in what will be called the Wild Card Round, with the highest-ranked squad playing at home for each game.

There will be no reclassification in the Division Series. The No. 1 seed meets the winner of the series between 4 and 5, and the No. 2 meets the winner between 3 and 6.

There will also be no playoff game (that is, Game 163) to decide a ticket to the postseason. All playoff spots will be determined by tiebreaker formulas.

The biggest for 2022 will be the implementation of the designated hitter in the National League. The universal DH was installed in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before the Old Circuit returned to its traditional rules in 2021. But now pitchers won’t be included in the batting order.

In 2023, a Competition Committee made up of four active players, four members chosen by MLB and an umpire will be in charge of making decisions on other changes, such as the pitch clock, limits on defensive positions, larger bases and the automatic system. of balls / strikes. Any adjustments to the rules that the committee accepts may be implemented with 45 days’ notice to the players.

What are the rules for doubleheaders and extra innings?

Those will return to those of before the pandemic. Doubleheaders will be nine innings, and there won’t be an automatic runner at second base to start extra innings.

Can teams sign free agents?

Yes, free agency opened shortly after 7 pm ET on Thursday when the CBA was ratified. Even after the heavy signing activity that erupted in the weeks before the lockout, there were 200 players available, with more than 100 minor league free agents also on the market.

By the way… Who are the top free agents?

Puerto Rican Carlos Correa, Chris BryantTrevorStory, Freddie FreemanClayton Kershaw Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Carlos Rodón, Michael Conforto, Anthony Rizzo and Nelson Cruz were on MLB.com’s Top 25 Free Agents list at the start of the offseason who have not signed new contracts. Japanese slugger Seiya Suzuki is also available and is expected to hold in-person meetings with various teams.

When will the swaps continue?

Those transactions can also be resumed. Teams were unable to continue or initiate transfer negotiations during the lockout but are now able to move forward with old or new proposals.

While shocking changes during Spring Training aren’t common, this year might be an exception. The winter trade market did not take place during the lockout, but A’s first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman; Reds right-hander Sonny Gray; Cubs catcher Willson Contreras; White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel and Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier were just a few of the names circulating before the break in action. Those names — and many others — could come up again before Opening Day.

What about salary arbitration?

There is also a lot of work to do there. At the start of the lockout, there were 197 players eligible for arbitration and contract offers by their clubs but who had not signed. That is why their contractual situations will have to be resolved in the near future. Normally arbitration figures are exchanged in January and hearings are held in February, but that was not possible during the lockout. This year, the date to exchange arbitration figures will be March 22, with the hearings taking place during the campaign.

Will there be a Rule 5 Draft?

No. The Rule 5 Draft, which normally occurs during the Winter Meetings, has been canceled for this season.

What are other important elements of the CBA?

The new five-year CBA includes increases in the minimum wage, (starting at $700,000 in 2022 and reaching $780,000 at the end of the CBA), a new $50 million pre-arbitration bonus fund to reward best young players, an increase in competitive balance tax thresholds ($230 million in 2022 rising to $244 million in 2026), a new six-team Lottery Draft system (the broadest in sports), a system to prevent alleged cases of service time manipulation and limits on the number of times a player can be sent to the minors in a campaign.

How will these changes affect the 2022 season?

Because of a new rule that any player who ranks in the top two of Rookie of the Year voting will receive a full year of service no matter how many days he’s in the majors, we could see more prospects debut earlier in a season. The change in rules for moving players up and down is also important, because it limits teams to frequently keeping their rosters in better shape (especially bullpens).

Will there be changes in the Amateur Draft?

Yes, there will be a lottery for the top six picks, which will be the largest draft lottery in sports. (The NBA lottery is for the top four picks, the NHL is for the top two, and the NFL doesn’t have a lottery.)

Odds will be determined in reverse order of win-loss percentage, with the teams with the lowest three records having an equal chance for the first pick (16.5%). Each of the 18 clubs that did not qualify for the postseason will be eligible for the lottery, although clubs that receive revenue-sharing money are not eligible to receive lottery selections for three consecutive years, and those that do not contribute will not be eligible. receive selections in the lottery in consecutive years.

What is the status of the International Draft?

The topic has been archived for now. MLB and MLBPA have until July 25 to decide whether to implement the International Draft in the future. If applied, compensation will be removed from a draft pick. If both sides do not come to an agreement, then the current international signing system and draft pick compensation system (including qualifying offer) will remain intact.

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