Monday, November 28, 2011

Breaking down the new MLB collective bargaining agreement

Earlier this month Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that would make major changes to the sport, but also avoid the heated clashes seen in the NFL and NBA labor talks. Changes include tweaks to the playoffs, the draft, international players, luxury taxes, free agents and the All-Star Game. When broken down parts of this collective bargaining agreement may negatively impact the MLB, but as a whole it is a step in the right direction for the game of baseball.

Italicized portions come directly from the MLB CBA summary.

III-a-3. Article XX(D) major league free agents signing minor league contracts who are not added to the Opening Day roster or unconditionally released 5 days prior to Opening Day shall receive an additional $100,000 retention bonus and the right to opt out on June 1. 

This does not refer to players drafted by a team who have not yet reached the majors for more than six seasons; so don't worry Kansas City your farm system is safe. What this means is that a player who has six or more seasons of major league experience who is signed by a major league team and sent to the minors is able to seek additional funds for their services in the minors or opt out of their contract on June 1st and seek employment elsewhere. Think about Dontrelle Willis for this one. This has no real impact on the game that we see on the field.

B. A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former Club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid Players from the prior season. The offer must be made at the end of the five-day free agent "quiet period," and the Player will have seven days to accept the offer.

Meaning that fewer free agents will carry draft pick compensation with them, so the plundering of the Tampa Bay Rays last season would have been a net loss for them as they wouldn't have been awarded with more draft picks than their average attendance. Basically the rule says that the big name players will still carry draft pick compensation but that the less known relievers and reserve outfielders won't. A benefit for the game of baseball in my opinion, teams that can't hold onto their players will no longer show up to the draft with truck loads of jerseys to hand out to all their first round picks.

e. Rule 4 Draft
1. The draft will continue to be conducted in June, but the signing deadline will be moved to a date between July 12 and July 18 depending on the date of the All-Star Game.

Again, another good thing in this CBA. What this is doing is simply moving the signing date of draftees up a few days. Players tended to hold out to the deadline anyway in hopes of bigger contracts, so nothing will really change - they'll still hold out, it'll just take place earlier. Teams want to get their draft picks onto the field as soon as they can and this change allows them to do that.

3. Signing Bonus Pools
A. Each Club will be assigned an aggregate Signing Bonus Pool prior to each draft. For the purpose of calculating the Signing Bonus Pools, each pick in the first 10 rounds of the draft has been assigned a value. (These values will grow each year with the rate of growth of industry revenue.) A Club's Signing Bonus Pool equals the sum of the values of that Club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Players selected after the 10th round do not count against a Club's Signing Bonus Pool if they receive bonuses up to $100,000. Any amounts paid in excess of $100,000 will count against the Pool.
B. Clubs that exceed their Signing Bonus Pools will be subject to penalties as follows:
Excess of Pool Penalty (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)
• 0-5 percent; 75 percent tax on overage
• 5-10 percent; 75 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
• 10-15 percent; 100 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
• 15-plus percent; 100 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts 

I know that was a long one to read, and probably a bit confusing but all it says is that major league teams will be assigned a flat amount from which they can doll out signing bonuses - and if they go over that number they will be hit with luxury taxes and the loss of future draft picks. This would be a victory for the owners more than the players, but it can also go a long way to help the MLB appeal to the average fan who disapproves of the astronomical dollar figures these draftees are receiving.

    5. Competitive Balance Lottery A. For the first time, Clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets will have an opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery. B. The ten Clubs with the lowest revenues, and the ten Clubs in the smallest markets, will be entered into a lottery for the six draft selections immediately following the completion of the first round of the draft. A Club's odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season's winning percentage. C. The eligible Clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee Clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, will be entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the completion of the second round of the draft. A Club's odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season's winning percentage. D. Picks awarded in the Competitive Balance Lottery may be assigned by a Club, subject to certain restrictions.
Finally, a victory for the little guys. It's a round-about way of doing it, but this awards the small market teams and the least competitive teams with more draft picks at the end of the certain rounds. While this does nothing to help these teams pay for their draft picks, it gives them the opportunity to sign more players and therefore have a better chance that they will develop into players that will benefit their club. Good move MLB.

    IX. DRUG PROGRAM Commencing in Spring Training 2012, all players will be subject to hGH blood testing for reasonable cause at all times during the year. In addition, during each year, all players will be tested during Spring Training. Starting with the 2012-2013 off-season, players will be subject to random unannounced testing for hGH. The parties have also agreed on a process to jointly study the possibility of expanding blood testing to include inseason collections. 
This portion of the CBA is huge -  while the NFL CBA did include a HGH testing claus, the NFLPA has not allowed for the implementation of that testing. This would make the MLB the first major sports league to test for HGH; furthering it's hardline stance against performance enhancing drugs. The only question is to when the MLB will be allowed to test players - before or after games, only on off days, on random days?

    X.. OTHER a. Participation in the All-Star Game will be required unless the Player is unable to play due to injury or is otherwise excused by the Office of the Commissioner. Players Trust will receive an increased contribution and players will receive additional benefits.
I'm including this one just so I can say this; A-Rod if you're voted to the All-Star in it! Rant aside, this is a good move for baseball - fans who voted for that player, clearly want to see that player play, see how that works? Suck it up and get out there A-Rod.

b. All Players will be subject to a policy governing the use of Social Media.  

Logan Morrison will have to watch what he tweets.

f. Instant Replay will be expanded to include fair/foul and "trapped" ball plays, subject to the Office of the Commissioner's discussions with the World Umpires Association.

Thank God. It's about time the MLB took a step into the 21st Century - finally umpires will be able to tell Curtis Granderson or whichever outfielder that, no, you didn't catch that ball, good luck on the Oscar though.

With that being said the new CBA is a gain for the MLB - some may disagree, some may be upset about the addition of more playoff teams, the NBA and NHL have about half of their teams make it to the post-season, I think the MLB can make due with a third of their teams getting in. Others may disagree with the move of the Astros from the National League to the American League, the schedule might finally be, gasp, balanced. Whichever way you choose to look at it is fine, but in the end the MLB is better off with this CBA being agreed to months ahead of deadline and not falling into the same quagmire as the NFL and the NBA.


No comments:

Post a Comment