MLB Lockout: Will There be a 2022 Season?
By Mark C
As spring rolls around, many sports fans are awaiting the return of baseball. This year, many MLB fans are already left angry and disappointed. Why is this? As of right now, the MLB is in a lockout. The original Opening Day date moved from March 31 back to April 7. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that this set back will cancel the first two series of the season.
What is a lockout? Many people are unsure of what a lockout is. This is the first lockout in 27 years, and only the fourth in MLB history. A lockout is when club owners implement a stoppage of work, meaning players are not able to use or utilize facilities. They are also not able to communicate with staff, owners, and other players. Along with this, players will not be paid for any time missed during the lockout. This is one of the biggest bargaining tools owners can use because the only way for a lockout to end is for players and owners to create a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
What led to the lockout? What do the players want? The main contributor to the lockout is money. In the last four years, the average player salary has dropped 6.4%. This is largely due to what is known as a “luxury tax.” Despite the MLB not having a salary cap for pay rolls, this tax still functions as a de facto salary cap. Once this threshold has been met, the club is forced to pay heavy taxes. This tax makes owners look for and continually shift their roster for younger and cheaper players. This also makes owners keep players in the minor leagues longer, so as to not exceed the luxury tax line. To solve this, the players association (MLBPA) has introduced the idea of a growth in this tax line up to $220 million for the 2022-24 seasons, and bump it again at a chosen time to $250 million.
Another huge topic for debate is remodeling their revenue shearing format. The current model the MLB uses seizes all of the MLB teams profit from advertising and broadcasting. They then divide it and give it to all of the teams. This, however, sees larger market teams paying a lot more than small market teams despite getting the same amount of revenue. This formatting leads to clubs investing less into players salaries and team payroll. The MLBPA has suggested new formats that leave for a more competitive market.
As the lockout continues and April 7 approaches, MLB fans across the nations are hoping for both parties to come to an agreement so baseball can come back in full swing.