For the most part, I’ve resisted even thinking about offseason issues right now, given that the Cubs are PLAYING IN THE WORLD SERIES. There will be a time to consider what comes next, but mostly I want to stay in the here and now.
I will make an exception this off-day morning, however, to note something important reported by Joel Sherman about the current Collective Bargaining Negotiations. As you may recall, the current CBA is due to expire on December 1, which means that there is significant urgency to get a deal done as soon as possible when the World Series is complete. Without a new deal announced ASAP, players and teams will have to operate under the old system for the beginning of the offseason, knowing full well that things could change dramatically in one month.
But maybe that won’t be the case. Sherman reports that although there is optimism that a deal will be done in time to avoid a work stoppage, agreeing on certain issues could take a little more time. And that may mean that the current CBA rules regarding free agency (qualifying offer system, draft pick compensation, etc.) will be “rolled over” for this offseason so that players and teams can move forward with confidence much sooner in the offseason than they might otherwise have been able.
This could impact the Cubs, among other ways, in a very immediate sense, as they would have to decide whether to make qualifying offers to any eligible departing free agents within five days of the end of the World Series. Dexter Fowler, of course, is the most likely player to be affected. The qualifying offer level is expected to be $17.2 million this offseason, and free agency begins as soon as the World Series ends.
With confidence that the current system will be in place throughout the offseason, the Cubs (and Fowler, and other free agents) could move forward quickly after this season ends. If there is not that confidence, we may see a bit of a stalling period in November before the CBA is finalized.
And the clock on all of this starts ticking as soon as that final out is gloved in the World Series. We’ll get much deeper into the specifics of the dates and deadlines when that comes.
Ok. Back to your regularly-scheduled Cubs World Series obsessing.