Over the course of a grueling 99-day lockout, MLB and the Players Association went from no negotiations at all to 17-hour marathon sessions in the hopes of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
In order to ratify the CBA, the union needed at least 20 of 30 player representatives — including Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jared Walsh — to vote yes. They received 26 of 30 votes in favor, with Walsh being one of those “yes” votes.
This was Walsh’s first offseason as the Angels player representative, as Andrew Heaney had held the title prior to his mid-season trade in 2021. Walsh described the experience and what it means for him moving forward as the team representative, according to Mike DiGiovanna of The L.A. Times:
“It was grueling, but honestly, I feel like I learned so much that I think five years from now, when we go through this again, I’ll have a different perspective,” said Walsh, who took over as Angels player rep after pitcher Andrew Heaney was traded to the New York Yankees last summer.
“Other guys have been around a lot longer, they’ve been through CBAs, and I haven’t. Now that I have a little understanding of how it all works, I think it will be beneficial.”
In a message directly to fans, Walsh was grateful for the support the players felt, and hinted at an exciting season ahead for fans of all teams.
“Just thanks for sticking with us through this,” first baseman Jared Walsh, who served as the Angels’ player representative during negotiations, said in a Thursday night phone call. “I think it’s actually a really exciting time for baseball. There are so many superstars in the game right now, so just enjoy the show.
“I think it’s going to be a fun summer. You’re going to see a lot of great players. Guys getting back on the field is going to be great for everybody.”
Being a player representative for the union is a difficult task as is, but it reached another level during the lockout. Not only were the 30 reps tasked with bringing baseball back, they had to do so while facing constant public pressure and scrutiny, while still ensuring they received a fair deal.
Given the results and the contents of the new CBA, it’s safe to say that all sides were — in some form — successful in their goals.
Now, Walsh can return his focus to the diamond, as he must report to Spring Training by Sunday. There, he can begin the work to defend his All-Star 2021 season and help lift the Angels to playoff contention.
Opening Day scheduled for April 7
The Angels will be in Anaheim to begin the 2022 season after the reports of an April 7 Opening Day. They will face the Houston Astros in a four-game series to begin the new season, a perfect — and immediate — litmus test of their offseason moves.