Over the past two weeks Major League Baseball owners and the MLB Players’ Association continued to hold discussions over a new collective bargaining agreement ahead of the current deal expiring Thursday, Dec. 1, at 12:01 a.m. ET.
Talks between both parties intensified as the deadline grew closer, though there was a recent snag — or posturing — when it was reported a lockout appeared to be a realistic possibility. That was followed soon after with reports of significant progress being made.
According to Jeff Passan of YAHOO! Sports, MLB and the MLBPA agreed on a five-year CBA to avoid the league’s first work stoppage since 1994:
Sources: MLB and the MLBPA have agreed on a five-year deal.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2016
Several changes are expected under the new CBA, including to the qualifying offer system and the luxury tax threshold and penalties. With a new agreement in place, the MLB offseason can press ahead without interruption.
First on the schedule is Friday’s deadline to tender contracts to eligible players, which is followed soon after by the start of the Winter Meetings. Teams reportedly conveyed they were not going to partake in the annual meetings if a new CBA was not in place.
Revenues across MLB are on the rise, which added further impetus to avoiding a lockout this offseason. The NHL holds as the last American professional sports league to have a work stoppage (2012-13 season).
Prior to that the NBA and NFL entered into lockouts during their respective 2011-12 seasons.