Major League Baseball has extended a deadline for talks with the MLB Players Association, which had been set for Monday.

MLB warned last week the 2022 season would be shortened and players would not be compensated if there was no new collective bargaining agreement by the end of February.

However, as talks continued between the league and the union into Tuesday, there was still hope such an outcome could be avoided.

"We want to exhaust every possibility to get a deal done," a league spokesperson said, with Tuesday now seen as the key day in negotiations.

Reports claim MLB has made a move towards MLBPA's demands in terms of the luxury tax threshold, minimum salary and bonus pool without yet meeting them.

Plans for further talks on Tuesday would suggest there is room for further movement as the two sides seek an end to the lockout.

Hall of Famer Derek Jeter announced on Monday he will step down as CEO of the Miami Marlins, a position he held since September 2017.

The Marlins went 218-327 in his four full seasons at the helm, making the playoffs once in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season following last-place finishes in 2018 and 2019. They finished fourth in the NL East this past season, going 67-95.

"I will no longer serve as CEO nor as a shareholder in the club," Jeter said in a statement released through PR Newswire, and not the Marlins.

"We had a vision five years ago to turn the Marlins franchise around, and as CEO, I have been proud to put my name and reputation on the line to make our plan a reality.

"Through hard work, trust and accountability, we transformed every aspect of the franchise, reshaping the workforce, and developing a long-term strategic plan for success.

"That said, the vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead."

The Marlins were last in MLB in attendance in 2021, drawing less than 8,000 fans per game, and ranked 27th out of 30 teams in payroll at $61million – stark differences than what Jeter was used to during his playing days with the New York Yankees.

A five-time World Series champion and 14-time All-Star during a career spent entirely with the Yankees from 1995 to 2014, Jeter ranks sixth on baseball’s all-time hits list with 3,465. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020.

Major League Baseball has warned the 2022 season will be shortened and players will lose money if the lockout is not ended by Monday.

Monday represents the February 28 deadline the league has set as negotiations continue with the MLB Players Association over a new collective bargaining agreement.

That deadline had already been publicised to allow Opening Day to take place on March 31.

But with talks still unsuccessful to this point, MLB said on Wednesday there would be no room for manoeuvre with that date.

And if that deadline passes and games are missed, the league does not plan to compensate players.

"A deadline is a deadline. Missed games are missed games," a spokesperson said. "Salary will not be paid for those games."

Major League Baseball has postponed all spring training games until March 5 at the earliest as negotiations continue to end the lockout.

Games were due to take place from Saturday, February 26, but the lack of a breakthrough in talks with the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) has prompted the delay in getting back on the field.

MLB said in a statement on Friday: "We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of spring training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5. All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands.

"We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side. On Monday, members of the owners' bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard toward starting the season on time."

MLB has designated Monday, February 28 as its deadline for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) deal to be signed off to allow Opening Day to take place on March 31.

The MLBPA said in December that the lockout was a move designed by team owners "to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits".

On the part of the MLB, commissioner Rob Manfred claimed the MLBPA "came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise", describing demands as "the most extreme set of proposals in their history".

Talks have continued in an effort to find agreement on labour terms and the MLBPA made a new offer on Thursday.

A previous strike led by players forced the 1994 World Series to be scrapped, and lasted into 1995.

A former Los Angeles Angels communications director faces 20 years to life in prison after being found guilty of supplying drugs that caused the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Skaggs, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Angels across a seven-year MLB career, was found dead in a Southlake hotel on July 1, 2019 after an overdose.

Eric Kay has been convicted of distribution offences, following the testimony of several other former Angels players who said he also dealt pills to them on team premises.

Kay was found guilty in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday and will be sentenced on June 28.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement: "After less than an hour and a half of deliberation, a federal jury found former Angels communications director Eric Prescott Kay, 45, guilty of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

"According to evidence presented at trial, Mr Kay distributed the pills that killed Mr Skaggs.

"In the course of their investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration determined that Mr Kay allegedly regularly dealt the blue M/30 pills – dubbed 'blue boys' – to Mr Skaggs and to others, dolling out the pills at the stadium where they worked."

A pill examined by investigators, taken from Skaggs' hotel room, showed it had been laced with the synthetic opiate fentanyl.

Confirming Kay faced a considerable sentence, the statement added: "Mr Kay now faces between 20 years and life in federal prison."

U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham said: "This case is a sobering reminder: fentanyl kills. Anyone who deals fentanyl – whether on the streets or out of a world-famous baseball stadium – puts his or her buyers at risk. No one is immune from this deadly drug. A beloved pitcher, Tyler Skaggs was struck down in the midst of an ascendant career.

"The Justice Department is proud to hold his dealer accountable for his family and friends' unimaginable loss."

pic.twitter.com/ETEG3Nb9hv

— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) February 17, 2022

The Angels said the evidence in the case had been "incredibly difficult... to hear".

The Major League Baseball franchise said in a statement: "On behalf of the entire Angels organisation, we are saddened by the devastating heartache that surrounds this tragedy, especially for the Skaggs family.

"The players' testimony was incredibly difficult for our organisation to hear, and it is a reminder that too often drug use and addiction are hidden away. From the moment we learned of Tyler's death, our focus has been to fully understand the circumstances that led to this tragedy."

Barry Bonds missed out again on baseball's Hall of Fame as David Ortiz was elected in his first year on the ballot.

For a 10th year, the vote of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) did not give sufficient backing to San Francisco Giants great Bonds, the player with the most home runs in Major League history (762).

Bonds will no longer feature on future BBWAA ballots, but he could still reach the Hall of Fame through a different route.

Players required votes from 75 per cent of the baseball writers, and Ortiz got there after securing 77.9 per cent support. That amounted to a vote of approval on 307 of the 394 ballots, but Bonds could only draw 66 per cent (260 votes).

Boston Red Sox great Ortiz, a Dominican-American who struck 541 home runs across his MLB career, began his career with the Minnesota Twins but came to the fore in Boston where he spent 14 seasons from 2003 to 2016.

Now 46, Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series winner during his Red Sox career. Players are eligible for Hall of Fame nomination after five years in retirement.

Popularly known as 'Big Papi', Ortiz's election was praised by Bonds, who wrote on Instagram: "CONGRATULATIONS Big Papi on your induction into the Hall of Fame! Well deserved…I love you my brother."

Joining Bonds in missing out during a 10th year of eligibility were Roger Clemens (65.2 per cent), Curt Schilling (58.6 per cent) and Sammy Sosa (18.5 per cent).

They and Bonds could yet secure Hall of Fame status via the Today's Game Era Committee, which will meet in December to consider players who have made an impact on the sport since 1988.

Ortiz will be joined in being officially inducted in Cooperstown this July by six selections from the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era committees. They are Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva, along with the late Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso and Buck O'Neil.

Bonds was a seven-time National League MVP in a career that spanned 1986 to 2007, beginning at the Pittsburgh Pirates before he moved on to San Francisco from 1993. He experienced controversy surrounding performance-enhancing drugs allegations, but Bonds has always insisted he did not knowingly use any such substances.

The San Francisco Giants expressed disappointment at Bonds missing out, posting on Twitter: "We remain hopeful that he will gain election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame through the next phase of the voting process."

The New York Mets believe Buck Showalter is the man who will lead the team back to the postseason after a five-year absence. 

Showalter officially took over as Mets manager on Monday, agreeing to a three-year deal. 

Owner Steve Cohen had announced the hire via Twitter on Saturday. 

"Buck has been one of the best baseball minds for the last two decades and he makes teams better,” Cohen said in a release. "We have a lot of talent on this team and Buck is the right manager to take us to the next level and lead us to sustained success. I am excited he is our new manager."

The 65-year-old Showalter has 20 years of experience managing MLB teams, most recently leading the Baltimore Orioles to three postseason appearances during his stint there from 2010-18. 

He previously managed the Texas Rangers (2003-06), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000) and New York Yankees (1992-95). 

A three-time Manager of the Year, Showalter has a career record of 1,551-1,517.

He has twice led teams to the postseason after they had lost more than 90 games the previous years, and the Mets will be hoping for a repeat of that magic after posting just one winning campaign since their last postseason trip in 2016. 

He replaces Luis Rojas, who had his contract option declined after going 103-119 the last two seasons. 

Showalter will be the fifth man to manage the Yankees and Mets, joining Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Dallas Green and Joe Torre.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has described the league lockout as a move designed by team owners "to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits".

MLB has entered a lockout situation after it could not find agreement on new labour terms with the MLBPA.

This had long been anticipated after months of fruitless negotiations regarding a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) – the deal that governs the working relationship between players and teams.

It means that from Thursday, employees will not be able to work until a new deal is struck, with team officials and players unable to communicate in any way.

A previous strike led by players forced the 1994 World Series to be scrapped and it lasted into 1995, but MLB chiefs are optimistic there will be no such disruption this time.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he hoped the development would serve to "jump-start the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time". The 2022 season is due to begin on March 31.

On its part, the MLBPA declared a determination to strike a deal.

The MLBPA said in a statement: "Major League Baseball has announced a lockout of players, shutting down our industry.

"This shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of timing. It is not required by law or for any other reason. It was the owners' choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits and abandoning good faith bargaining proposals that will benefit not just players, but the game and industry as a whole.

"These tactics are not news. We have been here before, and players have risen to the occasion time and again – guided by solidarity that has been forged over generations. We will do so again here.

"We remain determined to return to the field under the terms of a negotiated collective bargaining agreement that is fair to all parties, and provides fans with the best version of the game we all love."

The shutdown confirmation followed a flurry of high-profile free-agency deals.

Manfred, speaking for MLB, said the players had been inflexible in negotiations, claiming the MLBPA "came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise". He described the MLBPA's demands as "the most extreme set of proposals in their history".

Seattle Mariners recruit Robbie Ray said he is ready to bring a World Series to the franchise following his unveiling on Wednesday.

After capping a career year with the American League (AL) Cy Young Award, Ray opted to leave the Toronto Blue Jays for the Mariners in free agency.

Ray signed a five-year, $115million contract in Seattle, where the 2017 All-Star will headline their rotation after his breakout year in Toronto.

"This team, the city is hungry for a World Series," Ray said during his introductory news conference midweek – the Mariners have never won the World Series or an AL pennant.

"To be a part of it and bring it back right here, I just wanted to be here."

Ray enjoyed a stellar campaign for the Blue Jays, who narrowly missed out on the MLB playoffs despite a 91-win season.

The 30-year-old boasted a 2.84 ERA – the best among qualifiers in the AL, having come off a 6.62 ERA last year.

Ray – acquired by the Blue Jays in 2020 – led the AL in ERA-plus (154) and WHIP (1.045), while striking out an MLB-best 248 batters in 32 starts.

"It just seemed like a really good fit and we were ready to move forward," Ray said of joining the Mariners. "I mean, it happened really quickly, but we're glad that it did."

"I've always had the mindset of going out and attacking. But it didn't necessarily match up with the delivery," Ray said. "This year, I feel like I really nailed that down and I feel really good about the consistency of the delivery. That consistency, matched with that mindset, I feel like is what allowed me to succeed this year."

Seattle's president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto added: "I think that's one of the main attractions for us is we want to be the team where, when other teams are coming to Seattle to play us, they look at the three pitchers or the four pitchers that are lined up for that series and they say, 'Oh man'".

MLB has entered a lockout for the first time since 1990 after the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) failed to reach a new labour agreement.

A lockout had long been anticipated after months of fruitless negotiations regarding a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

After a flurry of high-profile free-agency deals, MLB confirmed a lockout following the expiry of the collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday.

From Thursday, employees will not be able to work until a new deal is struck, with team officials and players unable to communicate in any way.

A players strike forced the 1994 World Series to be scrapped and it lasted into 1995 but that 26-year agreement has now come to an end.

In a letter addressed to fans, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wrote midweek: "This past season, we were reminded of how the national pastime can bring us together and restore our hope despite the difficult challenges of a global pandemic. As we began to emerge from one of the darkest periods in our history, our ballparks were filled with fans; the games were filled with excitement; and millions of families felt the joy of watching baseball together.

"That is why I am so disappointed about the situation in which our game finds itself today. Despite the league's best efforts to make a deal with the Players Association, we were unable to extend our 26 year-long history of labour peace and come to an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we have been forced to commence a lockout of Major League players, effective at 12:01am ET on December 2.

"I want to explain to you how we got here and why we have to take this action today. Simply put, we believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association's vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive. It's simply not a viable option. From the beginning, the MLBPA has been unwilling to move from their starting position, compromise, or collaborate on solutions.

"When we began negotiations over a new agreement, the Players Association already had a contract that they wouldn't trade for any other in sports. Baseball's players have no salary cap and are not subjected to a maximum length or dollar amount on contracts. In fact, only MLB has guaranteed contracts that run 10 or more years, and in excess of $300million. We have not proposed anything that would change these fundamentals. While we have heard repeatedly that free agency is 'broken' – in the month of November $1.7billion was committed to free agents, smashing the prior record by nearly 4x. By the end of the offseason, Clubs will have committed more money to players than in any offseason in MLB history.

"We worked hard to find compromise while making the system even better for players, by addressing concerns raised by the Players Association. We offered to establish a minimum payroll for all clubs to meet for the first time in baseball history; to allow the majority of players to reach free agency earlier through an age-based system that would eliminate any claims of service time manipulation; and to increase compensation for all young players, including increases in the minimum salary. When negotiations lacked momentum, we tried to create some by offering to accept the universal Designated Hitter, to create a new draft system using a lottery similar to other leagues, and to increase the Competitive Balance Tax threshold that affects only a small number of teams.

"We have had challenges before with respect to making labour agreements and have overcome those challenges every single time during my tenure. Regrettably, it appears the Players Association came to the bargaining table with a strategy of confrontation over compromise. They never wavered from collectively the most extreme set of proposals in their history, including significant cuts to the revenue-sharing system, a weakening of the competitive balance tax, and shortening the period of time that players play for their teams. All of these changes would make our game less competitive, not more.

"To be clear: this hard but important step does not necessarily mean games will be cancelled. In fact, we are taking this step now because it accelerates the urgency for an agreement with as much runway as possible to avoid doing damage to the 2022 season. Delaying this process further would only put Spring Training, Opening Day, and the rest of the season further at risk – and we cannot allow an expired agreement to again cause an in-season strike and a missed World Series, like we experienced in 1994. We all owe you, our fans, better than that.

"Today is a difficult day for baseball, but as I have said all year, there is a path to a fair agreement, and we will find it. I do not doubt the League and the Players share a fundamental appreciation for this game and a commitment to its fans. I remain optimistic that both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow, protect, and strengthen the game we love. MLB is ready to work around the clock to meet that goal. I urge the Players Association to join us at the table."

The Texas Rangers rolled out an expensive but exciting new era with mega deals for star duo Corey Seager and Marcus Semien on Wednesday.

Texas mean business heading into the 2022 MLB season after splashing out $500million to lure championship winner and World Series MVP Seager, and All-Star Semien to the franchise.

The Rangers gave free agent Seager – a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger with the Los Angeles Dodgers – a 10-year contract worth $325million.

After finishing third in the American League (AL) MVP race following his exploits for the Toronto Blue Jays, Semien signed a seven-year, $175m deal in Texas.

"How can you not be excited about that?" Seager said. "Not only the elite player, but he's an elite person who carries himself well. He's a great team-mate. There's not a bad word that you can say about Marcus.

"To be able to learn from somebody who's that talented and to take little things that he does in this game that I might not and be able to bounce off each other and to be up the middle here for a long time, it’s all very exciting."

Seager led the Dodgers to World Series glory in 2020 with a slash line of .328/.425/.746, while he was .297/.367/.504 as the Los Angeles franchise reached the National League Championship Series (NLCS) before losing to eventual winners the Atlanta Braves in 2021.

The 27-year-old shortstop finished the season with 16 homers and 54 runs on 108 hits, and 57 RBIs.

Semien enjoyed a stunning campaign for the Blue Jays, where he played all 162 games and slashed .265/.334/.538 en route to his first All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.

The 31-year-old hit 45 homers – a single-season record for a primary second baseman, to go with 102 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in Toronto.

Semien finished third in AL MVP voting, behind winner Shohei Ohtani and former Blue Jays team-mate Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

"Marcus' reputation around the game is impeccable. He's a leader in every clubhouse he steps into, respected for the way he goes about his work and how he treats others," said Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.

"There are few players in the game who garner the level of respect that he does from team-mates and opponents alike. We're thrilled to add a player of his calibre to the organisation."

"We feel that Marcus is an excellent fit for the Rangers organisation from a talent, culture, and leadership standpoint," said Rangers executive vice president and general manager Chris Young. "Beyond his ability as a player, Marcus is an outstanding person who leads by example both on and off the field."

Kevin Gausman joined the Toronto Blue Jays to get his hands on a World Series championship, saying "I want to go somewhere and win" following his blockbuster arrival.

The World Series-chasing Blue Jays lost American League (AL) Cy Young winner Robbie Ray in free agency but replaced him with All-Star ace Gausman.

Gausman and the Blue Jays – who heartbreakingly missed out on last season's playoffs despite recording 91 wins – finalised a five-year, $110million contract on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Gausman spent two seasons with the San Francisco Giants, where he played a key role in their franchise-best 107-win campaign in 2021.

 

"It just made sense the closer it got to decision time. This is the team I think I'm going to win the most with," Gausman said on Wednesday.

Gausman ended the regular season with a career-high 2.81 ERA as the Giants claimed the best record in baseball after fending off the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League (NL) West title.

It was San Francisco's first division crown since 2012, with Gausman boasting a career-high 227 strikeouts prior to the playoffs.

Gausman finished the year behind only NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes in Stats Perform's Strike+ metric, which measures which pitchers rack up both whiffs and called strikes.

"I feel more confident in myself now than I ever have in my career," Gausman added.

"It's just about being really good at what you're great at. My command has gotten better, and I just have a better overall feel for who I am and what I need to do to have success."

Gausman has also spent time with the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds in MLB.

"The impact that pitchers like Kevin can have in an organisation beyond the scope of winning is massive," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said midweek.

"His experiences, first and foremost his character, his reputation [are] as strong as they come in baseball. So, all that we would ever ask is for him to be himself."

Max Scherzer is embracing the pressure associated with his blockbuster switch to the New York Mets, who also confirmed the arrivals of Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar.

The Mets caused a splash in MLB free agency after signing future Hall of Famer Scherzer to a mammoth three-year, $130million contract.

Scherzer's $43.3m per season deal is the largest in MLB history as the three-time Cy Young winner prepares to team up with fellow superstar ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.

"The pressure is a privilege, not a problem," World Series winner Scherzer told reporters during his introductory news conference on Wednesday.

Scherzer was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Washington Nationals during the 2021 season, going 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for both teams – a number only bettered by 2021 National League (NL) Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 37-year-old was third for winning percentage (78.9) last season and fourth for strikeouts (236).

Overall, Scherzer is 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in his career for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Nationals and Dodgers.

"I called Jake after our meeting just to get a sense of what New York was like, how he’s feeling and just get a state of where he's at, and came away happy with it," Scherzer said.

"The dream of pitching with him -- we can do some great things together. I've been very fortunate throughout my whole career to have great starting pitchers beside me. I know how powerful that can be when you have guys to feed off of and watch great pitchers."

The Mets, who last won the World Series in 1986, are coming off their fourth losing season in five years after missing the playoffs once again.

"Max is one of the greatest pitchers of this and any generation -- 190 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts, three Cy Youngs, a World Series ring and he went 15-4 this past season with a 2.46 ERA," said Mets owner Steve Cohen.

"He is a Hall of Famer who knows how to win, and that’s a great quality to add to the clubhouse, too. Now we get to pair Max with one of the other great generational pitchers, Jacob deGrom.

"I told you last year I wanted to win, and I talked about sustained winning and winning championships, and I mean it. And I think the Mets today are closer to that than we were then. We are a better team today than we were two weeks ago."

The Nets also confirmed deals for All-Star outfielder Marte and Canha – both from the Oakland Athletics – and 2021 All-Star Escobar via the Brewers.

"I've had a good relationship with Robinson Cano, and I've always wanted to be his team-mate," Marte said. "I have a lot of family in New York and I felt like it was the right time for me to take on this opportunity."

"When I saw those names, I was like, 'OK, we're cooking a little bit now,'" Canha said.

Wander Franco wants to bring a World Series title to the Tampa Bay Rays following his record-setting contract extension with the MLB franchise.

Franco finalised a mouth-watering 11-year, $182million contract in Tampa, where the deal includes a club option for the 2033 season, on Saturday.

It is the largest financial commitment to a player in the Rays' 24-year history, while it is also the biggest deal in MLB history for a player with less than a year of major league service time.

Franco, who made his debut in June, enjoyed a remarkable season after recording a 43-game on-base streak to tie Cincinnati's Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest in MLB history among player aged under 21.

The 20-year-old shortstop helped the Rays win the American League (AL) East – Tampa Bay clinching back-to-back titles for the first time in franchise history with a record 100 victories before falling to the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series (ALDS).

"I'm really happy for this opportunity, and the one thing I want to do is bring a championship to the organisation," Franco said during Monday's news conference as the Rays target a maiden World Series championship.

"With this, I can help my family and have nothing in my mind when I'm playing on the field … and be happy with this opportunity."

Franco also finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after slashing .288/.347/.463 with 18 doubles, five triples and seven home runs in 2021.

"The Rays have given me the support that I need, the development, the people that they have here," Franco said. "I wish to stay here for my whole career."

Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander added: "The chance for a homegrown star to be with the club for the foreseeable future, that in and of itself is a really big deal.

"Our on-field goal is to win a World Series, and as we've said many times over now, our desired approach to making that happen is to be as competitive as possible in as many years as possible.

"This commitment certainly increases our confidence that we're going to continue to be competitive and eventually be that last team standing."

Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are among the newcomers on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2022, which was announced Monday by the Hall.

Their arrival coupled with 2022 being the last year on the ballot for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens guarantees questions about how the game should grapple with the legacy of performance-enhancing drugs will remain at the forefront for another election cycle.

Ten-year members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) can vote for up to 10 of the 30 players on this year's ballot, and a candidate must receive at least 75 per cent of the votes to be elected. Results will be announced on January 25. 

The BBWAA did not elect anyone last year, with Curt Schilling coming the closest at 71.1 per cent followed by Bonds (61.8) and Clemens (61.6). 

All three will be in their 10th and final year on the writers' ballot, along with Sammy Sosa. 

Bonds, Clemens and Sosa have seen their candidacies stall thanks in part to long-standing rumours of PED use, and Rodriguez and Ortiz could face similar hurdles. 

Unlike the others, Rodriguez was suspended for violating MLB's drug policy, missing the entire 2014 season, while Ortiz reportedly was among the players who tested positive during unofficial survey testing in 2003. 

Voters will have to weigh that against their impressive on-field accomplishments. Rodriguez is one of the best hitters the game has ever seen, a three-time American League MVP and 14-time All-Star whose 696 home runs and 2,086 RBIs rank fourth in baseball history. 

Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star who led the Boston Red Sox to three World Series titles after a decades-long drought for the franchise and remains one of the most beloved figures of his era. 

Other first-time players on the 2022 ballot include longtime first baseman Mark Teixeira, 2007 National League MVP Jimmy Rollins, 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau, 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy and the man who won that award the next two seasons, Tim Lincecum. 

Closers Joe Nathan and Jonathan Papelbon, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, speedy outfielder Carl Crawford and slugger Prince Fielder also are on the ballot for the first time.

Players must get at least five per cent of the vote each year to remain on the ballot for the following election. 

Other holdovers from previous ballots back this year include Scott Rolen (52.9 per cent last year), Omar Vizquel (49.1), Billy Wagner (46.4), Todd Helton (44.9) and Gary Sheffield (40.6). 

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