MLB Season Commences After Longest Lockout in League History

By David Goldman, Staff Writer

What happens when major-league players want something and owners don’t want to give it to them? Negotiations are made, the season is delayed, and fans are deprived of baseball, at least for a little while. This was the case for the start of the 2022 MLB season, as players demanded a competitive balance tax, a higher minimum salary, playoff expansion, and a pre-arbitration pool that would reward top-producing non-arbitration eligible players. After 99 days, the two sides finally came to an agreement, ending the longest lockout the sport had ever seen.

With the disagreements out of the way, the season was now pushed back to April 7, and players were to report to spring training immediately after the deal was reached. Some players would be reporting to their usual destinations, while others joined their new squads after multiple blockbuster signings in the offseason. One of the biggest signings was long-time Atlanta Brave Freddie Freeman agreeing to a six-year, $162 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Freeman joins a squad that was already destined for a postseason berth, but now LA increases its shot even more.

However, the Dodgers saw their pitching rotation take a hit when seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer signed a three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets. Scherzer joins Jacob DeGrom in a New York rotation that quite possibly has the best one-two punch in all of baseball.

Other notable deals included Corey Seager signing for ten years with the Texas Rangers, Kris Bryant leaving San Francisco for a seven-year deal with the Colorado Rockies, and Javier Baez ending his quick stint with the Mets to head to the Detroit Tigers for six years. Another shortstop making a big splash in the free agency market was Carlos Correa who joined the Minnesota Twins on a three-year deal after spending seven seasons with the Houston Astros. Correa will be making over $35 million a year, which is the second-highest average annual value among the 2022 offseason’s signings, trailing Scherzer’s $43 million annually. Minnesota made room for the All-Star shortstop by trading away Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson, and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees in exchange for Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela.

All these offseason deals certainly enhance the competition in many of the divisions around the league. For one, the National League East will be tough, with the Mets’ rotation, the Phillies’ offensive weapons, and the young talent of the Braves. Atlanta plans to get their star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. back from injury after he sat out for more than half of last season.

The American League East will also prove challenging, as the Tampa Bay Rays are coming off an AL pennant win, and the Yankees and Blue Jays both have made some impressive offseason moves to bolster their rosters. Toronto spent a lot of money, picking up the likes of Matt Chapman and Kevin Gausman and extending the contract of star pitcher Joes Berrios.

It is no surprise that the National League West will be another division to keep an eye on, with the competition seeming to improve every year. The star-studded roster of the Dodgers makes them a World Series contender every season, and the San Francisco Giants will most likely pick up right where they left off last season. Of course, the depth that the Padres have makes them contenders as well, and even the Rockies cannot be counted out with their acquisition of Kris Bryant.

All in all, it seems that the wait was worth it for the 2022 MLB season. Let the games begin.

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Author: Jack Herr

Jack Herr '23 is the Sports Editor for the Gettysburgian. He previously served as a sports staff writer. He has a major in Political Science and a minor in German Studies. Outside of the Gettysburgian, he is assistant captain of the club frisbee team and the public address announcer for football games. In his free time, he enjoys reading crime fiction, watching baseball, and walking through the battlefields.

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