Collective Bargaining Agreement Rumors

Highlights From The New CBA

The effects of Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement can't be described within one post, even one as long as this. It will take a while for teams and players to adjust to the game's new conditions, but here's an early look at ten highlights from the CBA (in no particular order):

  1. Playoffs may expand in 2012 - If Commissioner Bud Selig gets his wish and MLB playoffs expand next year, more teams than ever will have a realistic shot at contention.
  2. Good news for middle-tier free agents – Teams will only offer arbitration if they're prepared to pay a one-year salary that matches or exceeds the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players from the previous season (likely more than $12MM). Middle-tier free agents won't see offers of arbitration and will hit the market uninhibited as a result.
  3. Draft limits may curb rebuilding efforts -  Teams will face draft spending ceilings in the $4.5-11.5MM range. Clubs like the Pirates, Rays, Indians, Nationals, Blue Jays and Mets had been spending aggressively on the draft, but will have to slow down or face steep fines and lose future selections.
  4. Earlier signing deadline – The draft signing deadline will now be in mid-July, which means a) teams can get a longer look at players who sign late b) teams can trade players from the previous year's draft before the July 31st trade deadline and c) college coaches will be able to set their fall rosters with more time to spare. 
  5. The trade market for elite free agents shifts"Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation," according to the CBA. In other words, teams won't be compensated for losing players acquired in midseason trades.
  6. Some draft picks can be traded – If a team wins a pick in the competitive balance lottery, it can assign the selection to another club under some circumstances.
  7. International spending restrictions – The restrictions on international spending appear to make it harder for teams to build a competitive advantage internationally.
  8. More super twos – More players than ever will be arbitration eligible before obtaining three years of MLB service. This won't stop the annual service time manipulations for top prospects, but it might delay them until later in the summer. The cutoff will now be earlier than ever, which means teams may wait until the end of June before calling top prospects up.
  9. Earlier deadlines speed offseason up – Going forward, teams have to decide whether to offer arbitration to free agents soon after the World Series, instead of in late November. The sides also moved the tender deadline for arbitration eligible players up to December 2.
  10. Expanded rosters for doubleheaders - Though the sides didn't announce any reductions for September roster sizes, they did agree on one change. Teams will be allowed to expand their rosters to include 26 players for some doubleheaders.

CBA Reactions: Marlins, Twins, Amateur Draft

The new collective bargaining agreement includes radical changes to draft pick compensation, the postseason, arbitration, and much more.  Here's a look at some reactions to the new CBA..

  • With CBA now finalized, the Marlins now have a guideline on what is at stake to sign free agents, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com.
  • The Twins will benefit from the new agreement as Matt Capps goes from a Type A to a modified Type B and they can receive compensation for him without offering arbitration, writes Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune.  The only downside for the club is that they might have been able to re-sign Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel at lower prices under the old system.
  • The new CBA means that the Mets can't exploit their large-market status by going over slot for draft picks and spending a lot on international free agents, writes ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin.
  • Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated writes that the new agreement helps put Commissioner Bud Selig's legacy in order but doesn't agree with the new limits imposed on spending on the amateur draft.  Agent Scott Boras predictably doesn't agree with the new rules pertaining to the draft and says that GMs have told him that they don't like the changes either.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) calculates that 20 teams went 16% or more over slot this year, which would have triggered 100% tax and a loss of two first-rounders under this CBA.
  • The overwhelming sentiment in baseball is that the CBA will prevent amateur talent from coming into baseball, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo.
  • More from Passan (via Twitter) as he writes that the new amateur rules will have the greatest effect on successful, low-revenue teams like the Rays, which now have even less room for error than before.
  • There's already major concern among some baseball officials about the impact of the changes to the draft and the international signings cap on the player talent pool, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.  
  • The new CBA makes it tougher for teams to draft two-sport stars like the Angels did with Jake Locker, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.  The Angels drafted Locker in the 10th round of the 2009 draft but the quarterback instead graduated from the University of Washington and was drafted eighth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Titans.

CBA Details: Luxury Tax, Draft, HGH, Replay

Baseball players and owners announced today that they’ve agreed to terms on a five-year collective bargaining agreement that assures MLB of two decades of labor peace. MLB.com offers a detailed look at the CBA. Here are some highlights: 

Draft Pick Compensation:

  • There are no longer ranked free agents under the new CBA. Type As, Type Bs and the Elias system are history.
  • "Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation," according to the CBA.
  • Free agents will cost compensatory draft picks if their former clubs offer guaranteed one-year deals with an average salary that matches or exceeds the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players from the previous 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," according to the CBA.
  • Teams that sign players who have been offered these lucrative one-year salaries will surrender their first round draft choice. However, teams with top-ten picks will give up their second-highest pick instead.
  • Here are the details on changes for Type A free agents this offseason. 
  • Going forward, It appears possible that teams will still obtain two picks for losing free agents after offering arbitration. The signing team forfeits one of its top selections and the club obtains a selection at the end of the first round.

Postseason:

  • MLB will announce by March 1 whether playoffs will expand in 2012 or in 2013. Commissioner Bud Selig says he's hopeful of expanding playoffs next year.
  • The Astros are moving to the American League in 2013 to accomodate a more balanced divisional setup.

(more…)



New Labor Deal To Be Announced Tomorrow

Major League Baseball and the Players Association have scheduled a noon central press conference for tomorrow, and MLB.com's Barry Bloom says they'll announce the new five-year Basic Agreement.  Some of the expected changes:

  • The Astros will join the American League in 2013 and two wild card teams will be added.
  • There will be limits for draft pick and international free agent spending, above which penalties will be incurred.  Loss of future draft picks is one such penalty.
  • The luxury tax threshold will remain at $178MM for 2012-13, then increase to $189MM for 2014-16, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  He says repeat offenders will be taxed at 50% beginning with the 2014 season. The Yankees currently pay at a 40% rate.
  • Teams signing the remaining Type A relievers will not surrender a draft pick this offseason.  Those seven teams will still receive compensatory picks, though I assume they must offer arbitration on Wednesday first.
  • Starting next season, the Elias rankings system for free agent compensation will be eliminated.  According to the AP, "Starting next year, teams will have to make a 'qualifying offer' of a one-year guaranteed contract to their players eligible to become free agents in order to receive compensation if the player signs with another club. That amount will be at least $12.4 million and could rise by next year, depending on a formula."
  • The minimum salary will increase from $414K this year to $480K in 2012 and $500K in later years.
  • The Super Two cutoff will rise from the top 17% of players with 2-3 years service time to the top 22%.
  • Blood testing for human growth hormone will begin.  

New CBA Notes: Minimum Salary, Super Twos, HGH

Baseball's owners and players have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that should be announced early next week.  This afternoon, we learned that teams won't have to sacrifice picks to sign top free agent relievers this offseason and the Elias rankings system will be no more starting next winter. We'll keep track the rest of the day's CBA news right here…

  • The AP (via The Star Ledger) reports that the minimum salary will rise from $414K this year to $480K next year, and then to $500K in later years.
  • Within the same article, the AP also reports that the Super Two cutoff will be increased to 22% of players with 2-3 years of service time. The previous cutoff had been 17%. An additional five or six players will be arbitration-eligible each year due to the change.
  • The new CBA will include blood testing for human growth hormone, two people in baseball briefed on the matter told Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times.  It appears that players who test positive will be served with a 50-game suspension, the same as the first-time penalty for a positive steroid test.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney hears from a source that the rule forbidding teams in the same division from meeting in the LDS round of the playoffs will be eliminated (Twitter link).

Teams Signing Type A Relievers Won’t Forfeit Picks

Under the new CBA, teams that sign the remaining Type A relievers will not be forced to surrender draft picks, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  The teams that sign those relievers and certain other Type A free agents will not forfeit draft picks but the teams that lose those players will still receive compensatory picks (from Twitter).

This means teams can sign Ryan Madson, Francisco Rodriguez, Heath Bell, and other top relievers this offseason without penalty.  The measure is not retroactive, however, meaning that the Phillies will still surrender their first-round pick for signing Jonathan Papelbon.  For a full list of this offseason's free agents, including their Type A/B designation, check out MLBTR's free agent tracker.

Furthermore, the new CBA will do away with the Elias rankings altogether starting next season, Rosenthal tweets.  Under the new system, the top free agents will be subject to compensation if teams make them qualifying offers north of $12MM.


Quick Hits: Mills, Madson, Twins, Danks, Prado

On a day when the Blue Jays adopted a familiar-looking "new" logo, here are some news items to carry us into the weekend….

  • If the Astros fire Brad Mills, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports believes Mills could reunite with Terry Francona as the latter's bench coach for a future managing vacancy.  Morosi also lists Rangers executives A.J. Preller and Thad Levine and Rays executives Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker as wish list candidates for Jim Crane if he removes Ed Wade as Houston's general manager.  It would be the second stint as Astros' GM for Hunsicker, who ran the team from 1996-2004.
  • Ryan Madson could be one of several free agents to lose his Type A status under the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  Such an adjustment would help Madson, as clubs with unprotected first-round draft picks currently have to give up that pick in order to sign the closer.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that Denard Span and Ben Revere won't be traded this winter.  Minnesota could lose both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel to free agency this offseason.
  • The White Sox didn't add Jordan Danks to their 40-man roster, and Jim Margalus of the South Side Sox speculates that this could be a hint that Chicago is preparing to part ways with John Danks.  The elder Danks brother has drawn strong interest on the trade market.
  • The Braves "seem to undervalue [Martin Prado's] skills," writes Fangraphs' Jason Roberts, who thinks Atlanta may not get proper market value in exchange for the utilityman in a deal. 
  • Right-hander Darrell Rasner has signed a new contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, reports NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman.  Matt Sosnick, Rasner's agent, tells Newman the contract is worth $1.5MM plus performance bonuses.  Rasner last appeared in the majors as a Yankee in 2008 and has pitched for Rakuten ever since.
  • The Blue Jays, Cardinals, Mariners, Red Sox and Twins are all listed as possible suitors for Kelly Shoppach by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link).

Latest On Upcoming CBA

Baseball's owners and players have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that should be announced early next week. Here are some details on the CBA, which ensures 21 years of labor peace for MLB:

  • There are rumblings that there will be a tax on teams that don't spend enough on their MLB payroll, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter).
  • Dan Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that teams can lose future draft picks if they spend beyond the recommended bonuses.
  • Several GMs are livid over the restraints on draft spending, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal also points out that commissioner Bud Selig, Rob Manfred of MLB and union leader Michael Weiner deserve credit for coming to an agreement peacefully.
  • There won't be hard caps for draft choices under the new CBA, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). However, there will be recommended bonuses and tax implications for teams that go way over the suggested limits.

Owners, Players Reach New CBA

FRIDAY, 2:42pm: The sides will announce the deal Tuesday, according to Rosenthal, who says the delay appears to be logistical (Twitter links).

THURSDAY, 6:58pm: The deal is "really, really close," tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com, who adds that it's not done yet but the announcement is close.

6:35pm: There is a "conceptual agreement" for the new labor deal, hears Jon Heyman of SI.com, but there are still some specific details to finalize, such as a draft tax (Twitter).

6:01pm: The owners and players have settled on a new, five-year collective bargaining agreement which will be officially announced on Monday, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com (Twitter links).

Among the expected changes, according to the Associated Press: The newly sold Astros will join the American League in 2013, and Interleague Play will go on throughout the season to account for the odd number of teams in each league. Five teams will make the postseason from each league, perhaps as soon as in 2012.

We learned yesterday that the old compensation system for free agents should remain in place for this offseason, although some will change immediately, according to Rosenthal.


MLB Owners Approve Astros’ Sale

MLB owners have approved the sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, commissioner Bud Selig announced today, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (all Twitter links). The commissioner also confirmed that the Astros will move to the American League West in 2013.

Alyson Footer, the Astros' Senior Director of Social Media, reports that the move to the AL was mandatory for the sale to be approved (Twitter links). Crane told Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he Rangers are the model he'd like to follow as the team rebuilds. The Astros finished the worst record in baseball this season at 56-106, and they haven't finished higher than third place in the NL Central since 2006.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.