It’s been over 20 years since the last MLB work stoppage that took place between 1994-1995 taking baseball away from the fans in North America. With the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) coming to an end after the 2016 season, fans were once again wondering if a new agreement would be done in time to keep the 2017 season (and beyond) a go. As of Wednesday night, with the midnight deadline looming, a new CBA was in place and set Major League Baseball up for the next five years.
A collective sigh could be heard throughout the country. Baseball is gonna be okay, folks. The longest streak without a lockout of the four major sports is still alive and well. For five more years, at least.
So what are some of the bigger points of this new agreement? How does it or could it affect your team?
- Luxury tax: Will raise from $189M to $195M and by the end of the new deal will be as high as $210M. If your team exceeds the threshold by $40M or more – they will lose a draft pick.
- Roster size: NO CHANGE despite the 26th man adjustment being a hot topic heading into the discussions. Also, no changes to the September call up rules, either.
- International draft: There won’t be one. However, teams will now have $5-6M cap to play with when signing international free agents.
- Free agent compensation: Teams will no longer have to surrender a first-round draft pick for signing a player who has been offered a qualifying offer. However, teams that exceed the luxury tax will have to give up a second and fifth-round pick while teams under the tax will give up a third-round pick. This rule does not go into affect until the 2017-2018 off-season.
- Mid-tier free agents/teams: Only teams who sign free agents to $50M contracts or more will surrender a draft pick that is determined based on the market size of said team. Players can also no longer be given a qualifying offer more than once.
- Oakland Athletics: The A’s have been phased out of the revenue-sharing program for the next four years. Oakland is one of the top 15 markets in baseball but because of a grandfather clause with their stadium, they’ve been involved. This was done in hopes to force Oakland into a new stadium as O.co Coliseum is among the worst sporting venues in America, let alone MLB.
- All-Star Game: Will no longer determine home field advantage in the World Series. Instead, a pay incentive is being discussed for players who play in the Midsummer Classic.
- 10-day DL: There is no longer a 15-day DL. Instead, the minimum time a player can be placed on the disabled list is now 10 days.
The new CBA is a win for the MLBPA with the adjustments to the free agent compensation. Players for years have been fighting to do away with qualifying offers but the adjustments to which draft picks are surrendered helps this cause. Executive Director Tony Clark should take a nice, deep breath after his first CBA negotiations were relatively painless.
Thank you, Rob Manfred. Thank you owners. Thank you players. Baseball fans everywhere thank you.
Take a minute to digest the new rules. They aren’t so different than the previous CBA when you break it down to the nuts and bolts. The best news coming out of all of this – there will be baseball for five more years in America.
That is something we can all breathe easier about.