The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) brought a slew of changes to the league, including a universal designated hitter and expanded postseason that will be adopted for the 2022 season.
Beginning next year, a joint competition committee comprised of four active players, six members appointed by MLB and one umpire will be formed to assess further rule changes. Any rule the committee approves can be implemented with 45 days’ notice to the players.
Under the 2017-21 CBA, commissioner Rob Manfred had the authority to unilaterally implement new rules one year after they were first proposed to the union. New rules otherwise could be expedited and enacted with the union’s consent.
Manfred didn’t take such action, but MLB did use the Minors, Atlantic League and Arizona Fall League last year to test a wide range of new rules.
Despite initially leaving out potential rule changes during CBA discussions, MLB more recently began incorporating them. Earlier this week, the MLBPA reportedly agreed to the implementation of a pitch clock, banning defensive shifts and increasing the size of bases beginning with the 2023 season.
One potential change the union did not give approval is utilizing a robotic strike zone. MLB has been testing the Automated Ball and Strike system (ABS) since a 2019 agreement with the Atlantic League and carried out experimenting in the Arizona Fall League and lower levels of Minor League Baseball.
Other changes with new MLB CBA
In addition to rule changes, other components of the new CBA included an increase in minimum salary, a pre-arbitration bonus pool, a raise in the luxury tax thresholds and an MLB Draft lottery.
Meanwhile, expanded rosters were trimmed down to 26 players as of Monday, but teams are permitted to carry a maximum of 14 pitchers through May 29. After that point, active rosters will be capped at a limit of 13.
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