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Nearly 100 days after MLB imposed a lockout that could have damaged the sport for fans everywhere, the owners and players came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
This means baseball can go back to normal, and for the Colorado Rockies that means celebrating Opening Day at Coors Field on Apr 8 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Players will begin to report to camp at facilities across Arizona and Florida as early as Friday morning with a mandatory report date of Mar 13. In less than a week, we’ll see teams begin to play Spring Training games on Mar 18.
Even after MLB canceled the first week of games – the second week was also scrapped on Wednesday, but it’s miraculously been added back – the plan is to play a full 162-game schedule.
Numerous other interesting changes in the CBA will impact the way we’ve viewed baseball over the past few seasons.
The California tiebreaker that saw a runner on second base in extra innings is no more. The universal DH ensures no pitcher will bat ever again, unless Shohei Ohtani or other two-way sensation comes to the National League.
The seven-inning doubleheader is gone, important to note as MLB plans to schedule several of these to help make up for the first week of lost games.
In addition, the season will be extended by three days to account for the scheduling conflicts created by interleague play and odd-numbered divisions.
As such, there’s a 50-50 chance the Rockies play the final six games of the 2022 schedule against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Effective shortly after 6pm EST when the owners ratified the new CBA was the re-start of the Hot Stove League.
Free agents can sign with teams once again and clubs can trade with one another.
Some other important behind-the-scenes notes worth mentioning for this agreement is the creation of the draft lottery. Only the teams with the worst six records in MLB will be entered.
Much like the 2021 MLB Draft being held in Denver during the All-Star Week, such a special production over the draft could allow for more eyes on the best amateur players in high school and college.
The draft will officially be limited to 20 rounds and a pre-draft combine loaded with 300 top prospects should further attract attention to the future of the game.
For the first time since the turn of the 19th century, there will be no Rule 5 draft. Though it has changed over the years, so form of the draft has been conducted every season.
Last year, the Rockies were able to select RHP Jordan Sheffield from the Dodgers farm system and secure a promising reliever with five more seasons of club control.