Grab the bats and balls. Toronto Blue Jays baseball is back.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new labour deal, according to ESPN.
The owner-initiated lockout was in its 99th day, and was the first work stoppage in Major League Baseball since 1995.
BREAKING: Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor deal, sources tell ESPN. While it still needs to be ratified by both parties, that is expected to be a formality, and when it is:
Baseball is back.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 10, 2022
Opening Day is expected to be April 7. Teams are expected to play a full 162-game season.
Players can begin to report to spring-training camps as early as Friday, and free-agent signings and trades can occur as soon as the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified by both parties, which is expected to be a formality, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Commissioner Rob Manfred had previously announced the cancelation of the first two weeks of the regular season when talks stalled. It had previously wiped out the first six games of the season for the Blue Jays.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) March 10, 2022
The lockout began December 2 with the expiration of the league’s previous deal.
“We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time,” Manfred wrote in a letter to fans in December. “This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”
The lockout prevented teams from holding workouts, or other team activities, with their current players and stops leagues from signing new ones. Players last negotiated a CBA back in 2016.
“This shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing,” the Major League Baseball Players Association said in response. “It is not required by law or for any other reason. It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure Players into relinquishing rights and benefits and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just Players, but the game and industry as a whole.”