When the CBA passed, Michael quickly wrote up the nuts and bolts of the new deal, and we’ll have a deeper dive when more of the agreement is made available (that can take a little while). But there are some stray things coming out that I wanted to share and comment upon …
• The new official Spring Training reporting date for all players is March 13, this Sunday. So that’s your “official” start of Spring Training 2022.
• If the old schedule holds, and if the new Opening Day is April 7, then the Cubs’ opener will be against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Make tentative plans accordingly, but we’ll see if that becomes official soon. Spring Training games are expected to start in as soon as a week (… how?), and that schedule might get updated, too. It’ll be a full 162-game regular season, by the way, with double-headers and off-days and a small extension of the regular season making up the difference.
• Speaking of double-headers, yes, we’re back to nine-inning double-headers. Also no more starting extra innings with a runner on second base. Those were both rules that were brought about because of the pandemic, and I thought they wound up being really good. But there was definitely not universal agreement on that. The other “new” rules changes – pitch clock, shift restrictions, larger bases, automated balls and strikes – will not be in place until the 2023 season. That’s a bummer, and I think come October, folks are going to see why the changes were – again – needed as soon as possible.
• A reminder that one of the changes this year will be a limit in the number of times a player can be optioned to the minors. Don’t confuse that with available option YEARS (that stays the same – most players get three option years, aka seasons in which they can be sent up and down). This is about how many times a guy can be sent down WITHIN a single season. It’s now capped at five. After that, you’d have to subject him to waivers, and a team could grab him. This will definitely impact bullpen usage and construction. Having that quality upper-level depth on the 40-man is all the more important.
• The 2020 pandemic season grievance by the players – the one that asserted that the owners did not bargain in good faith to try to play as many games as safely possible that year (about which they were probably right) – has been dropped as part of the CBA deal. The older grievance about the Pirates, A’s, Marlins, and Rays not properly spending revenue-sharing funds on players (like they’re supposed to) is still on, though.
• The player voting breakdown was 26 in favor, 12 against, with eight of those no votes coming from the executive committee, which voted unanimously against. That means, among team reps, it was a pretty decisive 26-4 vote in favor of the CBA. As for why the executive committee was against this deal:
Five of eight members of executive subcommittee are Scott Boras clients. Subcommittee wanted luxury-tax thresholds pushed higher, sources say. https://t.co/lGohx4zuRy
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 10, 2022
• You can certainly see some Boras-related influence there if the CBT was the sticking point, though it’s interesting that the player reps for the Mets, Yankees, Astros, and Cardinals were the other no votes. I could theorize pretty easily why the Mets and Yankees were no votes (again, CBT thresholds), but I wonder about the Astros and Cardinals (maybe because they had teammates on the executive committee who voted no?).
• Hey, if you’re a huge draft nerd, you’ll be happy about this coming back for the first time in 15 years:
Am I crazy, as a @MLBDraft aficionado, to be more excited about the return of draft-and-follows than I am about the lottery? Story on all the changes coming shortly.
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) March 10, 2022
• In short, the draft and follow is where a team can draft a guy, NOT sign him, see how he does in junior college or in a final year of college eligibility, and then later sign him. Basically, you retain his rights for a little longer to make a decision about whether to sign him at (presumably) a higher demand. How that’ll work for the bonus pool system remains to be seen, though no one has mentioned if there have been any subtle tweaks to the draft signing system.
• The draft, by the way, is staying at 20 rounds, which seems to most an appropriate length.
• Players are now going to have more freedom in the sports betting space:
One interesting part of negotiations: players now have expanded rights to engage in promotional & endorsement activities with sports betting companies. Was very restricted before, now loosened up. Sports betting before was a matter of league policy—now, been decided by both sides
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) March 10, 2022