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.