While there had been some tough talk and saber rattling lately, the negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement came to a peaceful conclusion Wednesday night with the announcement of a new deal. With the current deal expiring at midnight Wednesday night, the two sides reached their agreement with just under three-hours to spare. The new CBA will go for five years.
While all of the details of the agreement are still unofficial and sketchy, here is what PBI has been able to piece together from various media reports.
- Roster sizes won't change. There had been talk that the regular season roster would go to 26 from April through August and then to 28 or 29 in September. Instead, rosters will stay at 25, with teams being allowed to expand to as many as 40 players for September.
- Luxury tax thresholds will go up. Players were concerned that with penalties on the amount of money that teams spend for players after they reach a certain level, the tax would work as a de facto salary cap. The threshold will be $195-million in 2017 and continue to rise from there each year of the agreement. The current threshold was $189-million.
- Free agent compensation was a big issue that was settled with an interesting compromise. Teams that sign a top free agent would no longer have to give up a draft pick to the player's original team. That team will receive a draft pick, thought to be a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds. Teams that sign a premium free agent would lose a draft pick the following season, but it would likely be a third round pick. If the team is over the threshold, they would likely lose a second and fifth round pick for signing a premium free agent.
- International players won't be included in the June Draft. Teams will now face a hard cap on how much they can spend to sign international players.
- The All-Star Game will no longer decide home field advantage for the World Series. Instead, the team with the best regular season record will have home field advantage for the World Series.
There are no details that have emerged yet on issues such as...
- Added off-days during the season, with the season opening four or five days earlier to accommodate the added days off.
- Revamping the slotting system for the June Draft and possibly allowing picks to be traded as they are in other sports.
- Tougher penalties for players who violate the Joint Drug Agreement. Both sides wanted harsher penalties.
- Changes to baseball's domestic violence policy and penalties.
- The possibility of playing regular season games outside of the United States in locations such as London.
- Service time rules.
- Replay and pace of game rules.
Just to clarify, the rules on free agency and compensation go into effect following next season. This year's free agent class has to live by the rules of the previous agreement.null