Friday night the calendar will flip from 2021 to 2022, ending what has simultaneously been the fastest and slowest year of my lifetime. Each passing year seems to go by a little quicker as I've gotten older, but because of, well, gestures at everything, this year felt like an eternity. I am looking forward to a new year and better days ahead.

Anyway, Major League Baseball is currently on hiatus. The owners locked out the players immediately upon the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 1, and commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans justifying the lockout included a few calculated inaccuracies. Nothing is allowed during the lockout. No major-league free agent signings, trades, etc.

Thanks in part to the upcoming CBA — but not entirely because of the upcoming CBA — the 2022 calendar year with be a significant year for the future of Major League Baseball. Don't get me wrong, the league isn't in danger of folding or anything like that, but there are several developments with long-term ramifications about to come to a head.

Here are four major issues MLB must confront in 2022, starting with a new labor agreement.