CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: As we ring in 2022, we ring in an important year for Major League Baseball. Atop the list is the negotiations for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, as how the league and players’ union resolves the issues on the competitive balance tax, revenue sharing, service time manipulation, free agency, and expanded playoffs could redefine how professional baseball runs in the United States and Canada. The labor dispute is not the only thing that could change baseball, as the uncertain status of the Athletics’ and Rays’ ballparks, growing prevalence in streaming services in sports, and the league’s insistence on continually altering the baseball itself remain prominent issues throughout the sports world.
Sports Illustrated | Emma Baccellieri: One of the most common things that people do at the beginning of a new year is look back and see what we can learn from the previous year. Emma does just that, drawing five conclusions about baseball from the 2021 season. First, she argues that “sticky stuff” had a real, but not massive, effect on offensive performance. Second, she notes that the Three True Outcome Percentage, which has been increasing every year from 2015 to 2020, did not increase in 2021. Third, she highlights that, although base stealing is at an all-time low, base stealers had a record-high 76 percent success rate. Fourth, the combination of the massive increase in innings from 2020 and the pandemic itself meant that teams needed a record number of players to get through the season (1373 batters and 909 pitchers, both records). Lastly, the sheer joy of returning to the ballpark this season after we had empty stadiums in 2020 reminded us that we should not take baseball for granted.
The Athletic | Andy McCullough (Subscription Required): It’s New Year’s Day, which means it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions! Andy McCullough runs through every team in the league, presenting what he believes their resolutions ought to be for 2022. For the Yankees, his is fairly straightforward: “Remember where you play your home games” and reinforce a right-handed lineup with a quality left-handed bat, such as Freddie Freeman, Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, Joc Pederson, or Anthony Rizzo.