In news that couldn't come too soon—because we were running out of Rob Manfred photos in our Getty Images subscription—the 99-day MLB lockout is coming to an end. Opening day will be April 7. Spring is here.
A final decision on the potential institution of an International Draft, which had recently and somewhat unexpectedly emerged as the final major sticking point in negotiations, was kicked down the road a few months. The two sides set a July deadline for that issue, and removed that battle from CBA talks altogether. With that out of the way, the players and owners haggled down the remaining gaps while Jeff Passan had his Twitter hacked to shill skeleton NFTs, but once all that was resolved, we had a deal. The player reps voted 26-12 in favor of the agreement, and the owners' ratification is reportedly a formality.
So what does this mean, in practical terms? Free agency could re-open as soon as tonight. Spring training will start this weekend. A full, 162-game season will start for most clubs on April 7, with doubleheaders and a slightly extended season making up the first week of postponed games. And, delightfully, it'll all be baseball as normal:
There will be time to dissect and react to the new CBA. Now, however, is the time for relief, and anticipation. Finally, something to look forward to.