Both Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and players’ union executive director Tony Clark expressed optimism last month about reaching a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the Dec. 1 expiration of the current CBA. No deal between the league and the union has come since, but the industry isn’t worried about a shutdown, reports Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. The lack of concern is largely because the next CBA is unlikely to include radical departures from the current one. Instead, the expectation is that the two sides are mostly looking to tweak what’s already in place.
Here’s more from Kepner:
- Shortening the regular season has garnered consideration during negotiations, but the schedule will remain at 162 games in the next agreement. In order to ease the players’ workload, the league and the union could agree to lengthen the season from 183 days to 187, per Kepner.
- Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this month that expanding rosters from 25 to 26 players was a possibility, and that’s likely to come to fruition, according to Kepner. Moreover, 40-man rosters in September will unsurprisingly go by the wayside in favor of a 28- or 29-man limit.
- The $189MM luxury-tax threshold is set to increase, though it’s unknown how much it’ll rise. That change will have a positive effect on big-spending teams that have been reluctant to exceed the $189MM figure. Bumping the number up from $189MM isn’t ideal for teams that have lesser budgets, of course, but Kepner argues that it’s not necessarily cause for despair. Since the current CBA took effect after the 2011 season, 21 of the majors’ 30 teams have made the playoffs, Kepner points out.
- Owners continue pushing for the implementation of an international draft, but the MLBPA is “deeply skeptical,” Kepner writes. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported in October that a 10-round proposal was on the table for March 2018.