Ronald Bloom AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Players have voted to accept the latest proposal from the Major League Baseball for a new deal, paving the way for ending the 99-day lockout and maintaining a regular season with 162 games, which begins April 7.

The union’s executive council approved the agreement on Thursday 26-12 votes before ratification by all players, said a man familiar with the vote, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcements were not allowed.

MLB sent the players an offer on Thursday and gave them up to 15 hours to take to play the full season. The union announced the player’s vote around 3:25 p.m. The owners plan to hold a vote on ratification at 6 p.m.

“The deal is moving the game forward,” said Yankee Cole, a member of the union’s executive subcommittee, in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s about a lot of things that players need to focus on in the game: the aspect of competitive honesty.”

The agreement will open training camps this week in Florida and Arizona, more than three weeks after they were due to take place on February 16th. Fans may start making plans to be at Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Camden Yards next month. The opening day is scheduled a little over a week after the original date of March 31st.

The deal will also kick off a quick round of free agency. Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman and Chris Bryant are among the 138 Premier League champions who still do not have a team, including some who may benefit from taking a universal striker.

The new collective agreement of this sport also expands the playoffs to 12 teams and introduces incentives to limit the so-called “tanker”. The minimum wage will rise from $ 570,500 to about $ 700,000, and the luxury tax threshold will increase this year from $ 210 million to $ 230 million. For players who are not yet eligible for arbitration, a new bonus pool has been created, a way to increase salaries for young stars.

Commissioner Rob Manfred set a deadline on Tuesday for a deal that would keep the schedule with 162 games along with the full pay and service time needed by players to reach a free agency. Negotiations passed the deadline, and Manfred announced the cancellation on Wednesday, increasing the total to 184 out of 2,230 games.

After another hurdle, this time due to the desire of the leadership of the international amateur draft, the deal was united on Thursday afternoon and ended almost a year of negotiations, as a result of which pitchers Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller took significant roles as union representatives.

Players have been angry for years over the deal, which expired on December 1, as a result of which wages fell by 4% in 2021 compared to last full season to 2015 levels. The union took an ambitious stance in the negotiations that began last spring, calling for an increase in the agency’s freedom of rights subject to age restrictions and for the expansion of wage arbitration to the 1974-86 level.

In the later stages, the key to the deal was the level and rates of the luxury tax, conceived as a break in spending. Players think that too low a threshold and too high a rate are tantamount to wage restraint, which the union has repulsed through a 7 and a half month strike in 1994-95.

The agreement was reached after three days of transfer talks between MLB offices in downtown Manhattan and the players ’association headquarters in three quarters.

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