“I have to say I am genuinely thrilled to be able to say that Major League Baseball is back and we’re going to play 162 games,” Manfred said. “I do want start by apologizing to our fans. I know that the last few months have been difficult.”
Spring training camps should open Sunday, ending a nearly 100-day lockout, a source familiar with the negotiations said.
The deal was agreed to by the Major League Baseball Players Association’s executive board, which comprises 30 player representatives and eight executive subcommittee members.
That kept players off team property and no teams or players were allowed to sign new contracts or conduct trades. With a new deal, fans can expect a flurry of free agent signings in the coming days and some teams making long-awaited trades.
At issue were disagreements over how to distribute an estimated $11 billion in annual revenue. Owners have said they have been battered by shrinking attendance, and players — particularly those who are not among the stars of the league — have seen salaries decline in recent years.
Manfred was asked at his news conference whether the lockout achieved what he wanted.
“Look, I believe that in sports an offseason lockout is the most effective way to get to an agreement without losing games if you can’t make an agreement before expiration,” Manfred said. “My strong preference is always to make an agreement before expiration. It wasn’t possible here.
“Once it became clear we couldn’t make an agreement prior to expiration, I do believe that the lockout helped move the process along. If we had just slid into the season, started the season without the lockout, I don’t think we’d have an agreement today.”
He said he hoped the players would see the league’s efforts to address their concerns as an olive branch.
“We built some processes into this agreement where we’re going to be interacting more regularly with players on topics like the international draft and rule changes. I think those opportunities for positive interaction help to build a better relationship.”
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Jill Martin contributed to this report.
MLB reaches labor deal agreement with players union