Qualifying offers. Draft picking compensation. Draft bonus pools. International free agency. Revenue sharing. And so on.
All of these loaded phrases we hear and discuss so frequently around here, they all begin with the Collective Bargaining Agreement – the contract that governs the relationships by and between MLB’s teams and its players. The current iteration of the CBA expires in just 10 days, and, although the sides have been busy at work hammering out the particulars of the next agreement, we’ve really heard only very little about what is actually being discussed.
For example, we’ve heard that the 25-man roster may increase to 26, and the September call-up rules may change. Outside of that, though, we haven’t heard much on concrete positions being taken and compromises rendered. Yes, we know that the players want the qualifying offer system revamped, we know the owners want an international draft, and we know that the Commissioner wants to improve pace of play. But what exactly is going to change? That remains to be seen. Mum has very much been the word.
Among the additional CBA tidbits offered: although the season would remain at 162 games, it may be spread out over an additional four days, giving more time for players to rest in-season.
The biggest fights, though, figure to be about money: where the luxury tax limit should be set (currently $189 million and expected to rise), if and how an international draft should be implemented, and a reworking of the compensation system for outgoing free agents. On those subjects, it’s still unknown precisely how the final CBA will lay things out.
In the end, I wouldn’t expect enormous and significant changes at this point. Tweaks here and there, with the biggest possible change being an international draft that would probably take a couple years to implement. Mostly I’m just guessing, though, because this has been an exceptionally tight-lipped process.
10 days to go …