New CBA changes to shake up MLB

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After a 99-day lockout, the MLB agreed with the MLB Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement. The new deal will last for five baseball seasons, expiring on Dec. 1, 2026.

Some significant changes were announced in the agreement and will shake up the MLB. These changes include a universal designated hitter, a draft lottery, minor league option limits and playoff expansion.

The postseason will now see 12 teams this year. Three division winners and three wild card teams will compete in this year’s playoffs. 

The top two division winners will receive a first-round bye instead of the usual one. The last division winner and three wild card teams will play a three-game series to advance to the Divisional Series of their respective league. 

The MLB draft lottery takes a page out of the NBA’s book with the new model. 

The eighteen teams that do not make the playoffs will be entered into the draft lottery, and the highest odds will go to the teams in reverse order of their winning percentage. 

The draft lottery will take shape in 2023 when the first six picks will be awarded via the lottery system. 

The new CBA also mentions that teams will have games in Asia, the Dominican Republic, London, Mexico, Paris and Puerto Rico over the next five years. 

In addition, special events such as the Field of Dreams Game and Little League Classic will occur more throughout the year.

While the first week of Baseball was canceled due to the work stoppage, the Braves home-opener is set for Apr. 7. 

The Braves, currently in Spring Training, have had quite the offseason so far, coming off their 2021 World Series win. 

The Braves recently ended their 26-year-long World Series drought by defeating the Houston Astros in six games. 

Although this is the Braves’ first time capturing the Commissioner’s trophy in over a quarter of a century, they have been very active in the trade and free-agent market. 

Some of their recent signings include Kenley Jansen, Kirby Yates and Collin McHugh.

Kirby Yates signed with the Braves on a two-year, $8.25 million deal. His deal also includes a team option for 2024. 

The reliever has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons and had Tommy John Surgery in March of last year. Before his injuries, Yates established himself as one of MLB’s top relievers. 

In 2019, Yates had a career year with a 1.19 ERA. He also led the MLB with 41 saves and was named an All-Star for the first time in his career.

McHugh, an Atlanta native, returns home on a two-year, $10 million deal. The standout reliever had a 1.55 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 64 innings for Tampa Bay last year.

Jansen was the icing on the cake to a flurry of moves the Braves made. An already-loaded bullpen added the Dodgers’ former closer, Jansen, on a one-year, $16 million contract. 

Jansen posted a 2.22 ERA with 38 saves out of a possible 43 chances last year. The stacked Braves pen will now feature Luke Jackson, Kenley Jansen, Tyler Matzek, Collin McHugh, AJ Minter, Will Smith and Kirby Yates this year.

Alex Anthopoulos, the Braves General Manager, pulled off one of the most stunning moves of the entire offseason so far in the blockbuster trade with the Oakland A’s. 

The Braves acquired All-Star first baseman Matt Olson from the Oakland A’s in exchange for outfielder Cristian Pache, pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes along with catcher Shea Langeliers. 

The move all but announced the impending departure of longtime Brave Freddie Freeman, who signed with the Dodgers on Friday. Anthopoulos choked up when asked about the Olson trade and Freeman leaving.

“This was the hardest transaction I’ve ever had to make,” Anthopoulos said.

This move will be a homecoming for Olson, born and raised in Atlanta. He attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, leading the Panthers to a state championship in 2011. 

When asked about returning to Atlanta, Olson had much to say on the matter.

“I watched Chipper, Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, all those guys,” Olson said.

 “I was the kid in the stands at the Braves game, so it was cool to check my locker out, see the jerseys, see the number, put this on. [I’m] really excited. “

Shortly after the move, the Braves announced they signed Olson to an eight-year, $168 million contract.

While it would be impossible to keep the stable of Atlanta’s outfielders from the 2021 postseason, the Braves have made some difficult decisions so far.

The Braves re-signed NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario to a two-year, $18 million deal that includes a team option for the 2024 season. This postseason, Rosario went on a tear, hitting .383 en route to an 11 game hitting streak. 

The National League’s RBI leader, Adam Duvall, will also be returning to the Braves Lineup after the Braves tendered a contract just before the MLB Lockout.

An integral part of the Braves postseason run, Joc Pederson signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. He hit .238 with 18 home runs in the regular season and had a pair of home runs against the Brewers in the NLDS.

The reigning World Series MVP, Jorge Soler, inked a three-year, $36 million deal with the Miami Marlins. Soler hit .300 with three home runs and six RBIs in the World Series alone.

Ronald Acuna Jr, who is signed until 2028, is currently rehabbing an ACL injury and is targeting a late April return. 

While the Braves are currently in a shortened version of spring training, Opening Day is just around the corner. The Braves will unveil their World Series pennant at their home opener on Apr. 7 against the Cincinnati Reds.