As you know, the big news around baseball today is that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been agreed upon (with minutes to spare last night).
This agreement, and the rules therein, will remain in place for the next five years, after which we will do this all again. Yay!
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that details have been trickling out randomly around the internet over the past 12 hours, so we thought we’d try to gather as much as we could in one place.
I can’t claim to have gotten everything – that will come only when the actual document is released – but below, I’ve collected the highlights from the new CBA alongside some thoughts of my own.
- Let’s start with some of the items Brett has already covered here at Bleacher Nation. First, the 15-day disabled list is shrinking down to the 10-day disabled List. Brett has already done a great job of identifying most of the potential implications (more trips to the DL, greater value on MLB ready players in upper Minors, more players getting service time, etc.) as well as questioning how teams will eventually exploit the rule change to some strategic advantage (as is tradition), so I’ll just point you in that direction.
- Also at Bleacher Nation, the winner of the All-Star Game will no longer decide home field advantage at the World Series, because, you know, duh. It may have worked out for the Cubs this year (an extra game of Kyle Schwarber’s bat was quite nice), but I’d still prefer the pennant winner with the best overall record get to host the event.
- The Luxury Tax threshold (note: not cap) is going to start at $195 million and rise up to $210-$215 million over the course of the CBA. Currently, it sits at $189 million and affects just a handful of teams. Although the increase in the threshold was modest, there were some slightly stronger, more restrictive rules added, as well, with respect to the amount of tax actually paid on the overage. Per MLB.com: “Tax rates for teams exceeding the threshold will rise from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first-time instances, remain at 30 percent for second instances and increase from 40 to 50 percent for third-time instances. There’s a new 12 percent surtax for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 40 percent for first instances more than $40 million above the threshold and 42.5 percent for teams $40 million above the threshold a second time.” In other words, if you exceed the threshold by $40 million two years in a row, that second year you will be paying an 82.5% tax on the overage; a third year in a row of that? 92.5%!
- There will be NO 26th roster spot added, and the expanded rosters in September rule will remain. In other words, there’s no change here, so there’s not much to discuss. Given how much attention this was getting before the deal, however, I felt it was worth pointing out.
- There will be NO international draft. Not unlike the 26th roster spot proposal, the international draft appeared to be a big ticket item in these negotiations. However, the owners and players punted on that decision, sidestepping it with a teeny tiny $5-$6 million per team per year total IFA cap. That’s so unbelievably small, in fact, that we’re tentatively expecting more details to come out changing related rules (like excluding certain signings (for example signings of $100,000 or less (currently that threshold is just $10,000)) from counting against that cap; presumably other exemptions for older international professionals will be included again, too). Many smart people were vocally against the international draft for the benefit of young, international player livelihoods (much more money is thrown around without the artificial limitations of a draft), but I wonder if these new rules are really that much better (i.e. slightly less worse) than a draft itself. Competitive balance improves, yes. But not necessarily the amount of money reaching the amateurs. We’ll have to see the whole set of rules before deciding.
- Brett jumping in right now with an update on this international chunk:
Int’l bonus $ depends strictly on market size. Teams can trade every $ of their int’l pool. Teams can trade for up to 75% of theirs.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2016
- There will still be free-agent compensation for qualified free agents, but it will no longer cost a team its first round draft pick. Instead, teams above the luxury tax threshold will lose a second and fifth round pick for signing a qualified free agent (and $1 million in IFA money), while teams under the threshold will lose just a third round pick (the reports didn’t quite clarify this, but I’m assuming the associated bonus pool will be lost with the pick, as it was before).
- But that’s not the only difference in the draft pick compensation equation. There are changes for the team losing the free agent, too. Before this season, if a player rejected your team’s qualifying offer and signed elsewhere, your team would receive a compensatory pick after the first round of the draft. Simple, right? Not anymore. Here are the details (and let me be very clear that these details have been very unclear so far. I’m guessing much more clarifying information will continue to come out):
- Comp Pick Comes After Round 1 If: the exiting, qualified free agent signs elsewhere for $50 million or more and is leaving one of the 15 smallest market teams (i.e., teams that receive revenue-sharing money).
- Comp Pick Comes After Round 2 If: the exiting qualified free agent signs elsewhere for less than $50 million; OR if he signs for more than $50 million AND comes from any team (that does not receive revenue-sharing money) under the luxury tax threshold.
- Comp Pick Comes After Round 4 If: the exiting qualified free agent signs elsewhere and is leaving a team above the luxury-tax threshold.
- The confusion there is mixing teams above or below the luxury tax threshold (now $195 million) and the teams that are small market/revenue-sharing benefactors. Essentially, the only way you’re getting a first round comp pick is if you’re one of those small market teams and you lose a big-time free agent. In most other cases, it’ll be a pick after the second round, unless your payroll is over the luxury tax limit. Then the pick is after the fourth round. Got it? Me either.
- Jayson Stark has a dump of notes/details at ESPN, including that smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new big leaguers (current players who use are grandfathered in). I’m not too concerned about this. I don’t think I care to ban adult men from doing what they want, but 1) they’re on TV, 2) it’s inarguably gross, 3) kids do watch and, like it or not, baseball players are role models, and 4) it’s inarguably bad for you. Moving on.
- The regular season will be lengthened by five days starting in 2018, essentially creating five more scheduled off days throughout the year. The season will remain 162 games.
- Some additional quick hits:
- The minimum salary will be rising over the next few years.
- There will be changes to the revenue-sharing formula (boring). [Brett: No way, man! That stuff’s crazy!]
- There will be increased drug testing, and players will not be credited with Major League service time during suspensions.
- There will be changes to the domestic violence policy (no details yet).
- There may be some international regular season games (fun!).
- Stark also mentions, albeit very briefly, the possibility of changes to the June Amateur draft, including a revamped slotting system and … trading picks. I’m not sure why such a huge change would be buried by one line in the middle of a post, but we’ll see if that ever comes to be. Obviously, that would change a lot.
- Other random bits include the exclusion of the “Performance Factor” in revenue-sharing calculations, which means, according to Jeff Passan, big-market teams (like the Cubs) could be paying a lot less in the future. Essentially, think of the performance factor as a revenue sharing multiplier. Without it, the overall revenue-sharing burden is less.
- Speaking of revenue-sharing, the Athletics will be phased out as a revenue-sharing recipient over the next four years, because Billy Beane wanted a greater challenge. He will also be operating with both hands tied behind his back from now on.
- There is still more to come, I’m sure, but for now, these are the highlights. You can read much more about everything above at CBS Sports, MLB.com, and ESPN.
Also, if you read all of this, now you don’t have to read a book this month.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.