AL Central

How Many Games Will the 2022 MLB Season Be?

AP Photo/LM Otero

When will the MLB Lockout end, you ask? Well, given what we’re seeing now, likely not anytime soon. Talks are just now restarting after an uneventful December and slow start to January, making it more likely that Spring Training and Opening Day will be impacted and that the season will be shortened. But if that’s the case, how many games will the 2022 MLB season be?

How did we get here?

Since early December, Major League Baseball has been locked out. The league and the players’ association failed to reach an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In fact, the most recent major discussion ended after just seven minutes. That was the final discussion before the lockout was instituted.

The only meetings that took place after the lockout was declared revolved around the minor aspects of the CBA, in other words, not the core economic issues that have been stalling the process, though the league and the owners plan to make a revised proposal on Thursday.

How many games will the 2022 MLB season be?

So how many games will we have in 2022? At this point, it’s pretty clear that we won’t be getting a full season. The two sides are constantly at each other’s throats, and it doesn’t appear we’ll have an agreement anytime soon. 

My guess is that the lockout will be settled sometime between mid-March and mid-April, which would likely leave us at around 110-150 games, depending on the date. MLB’s M.O. has been to let things drag out until the last minute. This was evident during the return to play negotiations for the 2020 season.

With the two sides at constant odds, I don’t see there being much progress for some time. Spring Training and Opening Day are going to be pushed back. That ship has already sailed. But if the lockout is settled by, say March 15, that gives teams a quick two-week period to scramble getting their rosters set with free agency and trades. Then Spring Training can begin in late March or early April, and we could have a week or two of intrasquad games at home ballparks. That means the season would likely begin in late April and leave us at roughly 150 games. That would be enough to be considered legitimate.

However, the relationship between the owners and the players is tenuous, and they basically wasted a whole month not negotiating. Even if there’s some progress in Thursday’s meeting, the two sides are still very far apart.

Previous Lockouts

It is important that we examine previous lockouts in professional sports and the length of time in which they lasted. We saw the NBA season delayed for a significant amount of time during the 2011 lockout. This was also the case with the NHL lockout in 2012. Given that trend, I think it’s very possible that the process will stretch out, and it’ll be similar to how the 2020 negotiations went, which means that the season could be delayed well into May.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, during times such as these, we as fans must be patient and have faith that an agreement will be reached.

Until then, we won’t know what will happen, which leaves us questioning, “how many games will the 2022 MLB season be?”

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