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OC Register: What baseball’s new CBA means to the Angels

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TEMPE, Ariz. — The question of when baseball season will begin has been replaced by the question of whether the Angels will finally get some more pitching.

For 99 days, the sport was held hostage when the owners locked out the players during the negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

After the two sides finally reached a deal on Thursday, business was re-opened with a new set of rules, including an expanded playoff field and higher thresholds for the luxury tax that seemingly suppressed the Angels’ payroll.

Now that the Angels can officially resume their quest to end their seven-year playoff drought, here’s a look at what the new CBA means to them.


The competitive balance tax was one of the biggest issues of the negotiations, and the Angels have been one of the teams that appeared to have their payroll most influenced by the thresholds.

The CBT threshold was $210 million last year, but it was raised to $230 million for 2022 in the new agreement.

The Angels currently have a payroll of about $190 million, for CBT purposes.

Of course, owner Arte Moreno and his general managers have always insisted that the payroll was based on the club’s revenue, not the luxury tax threshold. It will be interesting to see if the payroll increases or not.


Free agency opened again on Thursday, right after the owners ratified the agreement. The Angels could still use more help, most notably pitching and a shortstop. The top free agent starting pitcher is Carlos Rodon. There are also trade candidates, such as Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray and Oakland’s Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea.

The top shortstops on the market are Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. Previously, it seemed unlikely that the Angels could afford a frontline shortstop because they had a greater need for pitching.

If they are willing to increase their budget because of the new collective bargaining agreement, it’s possible they could entertain the idea of adding a premium shortstop.


A protracted lockout could have had implications for Ohtani, who might have been denied the service time necessary to make him a free agent after the 2023 season.

The union would have argued vehemently that all players should be credited for the service time they missed in a lockout, even if it had lasted farther into the season.

By reaching an agreement when they did, they avoided the issue. All players will receive their full service time for 2022, despite the season starting a week late.

It means if the Angels want to keep Ohtani beyond the 2023 season, they’ll need to sign him to a contract extension. Certainly, the Ohtani extension question will be at the forefront once the Angels get done with the pressing business of getting this year’s roster ready.


Opening Day is now scheduled for April 7, which had originally been the start of a four-game series against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium.

The Angels’ first six games – four at Oakland and two at Seattle – will be rescheduled. They will sprinkle those games throughout the season, on off days or with doubleheaders (nine-inning games). There will also be three days added to the end of the regular season schedule.

Also, starting in 2023 the schedule will no longer be so heavily weighed with divisional games. Although details are still to be announced, teams will play a more balanced schedule, including at least one series against every team in the National League.


There will now be 12 teams in the playoffs, with three division winners and three wild card teams in each league.

The Angels haven’t made the playoffs since 2014, but they were the last team eliminated in 2015, 2017 and 2020, so one extra spot could certainly help.

The two division winners with the best records will have a bye into the division series round, while the other four teams will play in best-of-three wild-card series.


Players can report to the Angels’ complex in Tempe as soon as Friday, and the first official full-squad workouts will be held on Sunday.

The first Cactus League games could be as soon as March 17. Details on the updated exhibition schedule – including the Freeway Series – are still being finalized.


The Angels need to announce their coaching staff. They were reportedly interested in adding former outfielder Adam Eaton as a coach. He was a player last season, so he was still technically a part of the union and unable to be hired as a coach.

The Angels also have three arbitration-eligible players – catcher Max Stassi, right-hander Mike Mayers and infielder Tyler Wade – and they won’t have much time to agree on salaries. The Angels will try to reach an agreement with each of them before March 22, when salary figures are exchanged. They could still continue to negotiate after that date and before a hearing, which could take place during the season.

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