New CBA Signed and Ratified

Photo credit: USA Today

March 10—The thirty MLB clubs and the MLB Players Association have signed and ratified a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the previous agreement which expired on December 1. The new agreement will remain in effect through the 2026 season. These are some of the key provisions:

The Game

  • Universal Designated Hitter. Teams in both leagues will utilize hitting specialists in lieu of pitchers in their lineups. Finally!
  • Extra Innings. The universally unpopular automatic runner on second base in extra-innings rule is abandoned. Super fantastic!
  • Doubleheaders. Both games of a doubleheader will consist of the full nine innings, rather than seven. Amen!
  • Optional Assignments. Clubs may option a player to the minor leagues five times per season only, greatly reducing the continuous back-and-forth between the 40-Man Roster and the Minors that some players have experienced. In order to exercise a sixth option within a season, the affected player would have to pass through waivers (i.e., club risks player being picked up by another team).
  • Joint Competition Committee. The Committee, comprised of active players, MLB appointees, and one umpire will deliberate and rule on possible additional changes, such as pitch clock, automated ball/strike system, limits on defensive shifts, larger bases, etc. The Committee cannot adopt rule changes until the 2023 season, and 45 days notice is required before implementation.


  • Play-in games (aka potential 163rd games) are eliminated. All playoff spots will instead be decided by expanded tiebreaker formulas.
  • Each league will now have 3 (rather than 2) Wild Card winners, bringing the total number of post-season contenders to 12 (rather than 10)—3 division winners, plus 3 wild card teams per league.
  • The two top-seeded division winners in each league will sit out the Wild Card Round. The other four teams in each league will play a best-of-three series (3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5), hosted by the top seeds (i.e., 3 and 4).
  • In the best-of-five Division Series, #1 will play the 3-6 winner and #2 will play the 4-5 winner (no re-seeding).

Roster Moves

  • Clubs are free to make trades and to sign free agents as of Thursday evening (March 10).
  • There will now be a lottery for the top 6 picks in the Draft. All 18 teams that did not make the previous postseason will be eligible. The clubs with the 3 worst winning percentages will each have an equal 16.5% chance at the top pick, with the remaining 50.5% probability allocated among the remaining 15 teams based upon their winning percentages.
  • The Clubs and the Players Association agreed to a July 25 deadline to determine whether or not to implement the International Draft and how it would work. If the parties cannot come to an agreement before the deadline, the existing system will remain intact.

2022 Season Schedule

  • A full 162-game regular season will be played.
  • Opening Day will be delayed by one week—from March 31 to April 7.
  • Games that had been scheduled for the first week will be made up through a combination of doubleheaders, “off day” games, and games postponed to the end of the regular season, which is extended three additional days.

Coverage from

Mark Feinsand discusses agreement, rule changes, and 2022 Season on MLB Beat Report

Commissioner Rob Manfred’s press conference on March 10.

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