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MLB Avoids Lockout With New CBA

CBA Arturo Pardavila III via


Major League Baseball avoids a lockout with new five-year CBA

Every baseball fan was on the edge of their seats on Wednesday as MLB and MLBPA tried to work out a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The deadline to get the new deal done was Wednesday at midnight, and boy did they cut it close. With only hours left, a new agreement was reached and baseball continued a streak of more than 20 years without a lockout. This new deal changed some things, but most of them will not be implemented until next season.

One of the issues discussed during the talks was roster size. Some felt that regular season rosters should be increased from 25 players to 26, while others wanted to do away with September roster expansion. In the end, it was decided that the roster size would stay at 25 players prior to September 1st, and 40 after September 1st.

While the roster sizes will stay the same, salaries will not. The new minimum salary will be set at $535,000 for 2017, and increase to $545,000 in 2018, and $555,000 for 2019. After the 2019 season, the minimum salary will continue to increase, but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

Another shakeup for the 2017 season is the fact that the 15-day DL will now become the 10-day DL. This will be huge because managers can now put a player on the DL without losing them for two weeks. It will give managers the option to rest a starting pitcher without them missing three or more starts. The idea behind the change is that it will eliminate teams playing short-handed, and allow managers to have more flexibility.

Over the last couple of years, the talk of decreasing the amount of regular season games has grown. With this new CBA, major league baseball has taken steps to build in more off days for the players. Starting in 2018, the baseball season will begin in the middle of the week in an effort to get the players more off days. Right now, it seems that major league baseball is exploring options for playing regular season games in other countries like Mexico and Britain.

Possibly the biggest part of this new Collective Bargaining Agreement is the fact that it does not include an international draft. Instead, there will be caps on how much teams can spend on international free agents. The bonus cap for signing international players will now be determined by team revenue. Smaller teams will receive $5.75 million in bonus pool money, while big revenue teams will receive $4.75 million. There will also be a third tier for mid-level teams which will be set at $5.25 million.

Under this new agreement, the qualifying offer system will see a couple of changes starting in 2018. Instead of teams losing their best pick in the draft for signing a player who has turned down a qualifying offer, there will now be a tiered system. Teams who are revenue-sharing recipients will lose their third best pick in the draft, while teams who are revenue-sharing contributors will lose their second and fifth best pick in the draft. Teams who do not fall in those categories, and who sign a player who has turned down a qualifying offer will lose their second best pick in the draft and $500,000 of international bonus money. If the player signs for over $50 million with a new team, the club whose qualifying offer they turned down will gain a draft somewhere after the first round. If the player signs for under $50 million with a new team, their old club will receive a much later draft pick. Players will also have ten days to consider a qualifying offer instead of seven.

The new CBA will increase the luxury tax bar starting in the 2017 season. Right now, the threshold is at $189 million, but that will rise to $195 million next season. From there, it will continue to rise until it caps out at $210 million. Also in the new deal, major league baseball will increase the amount of taxes teams must pay if they go over the threshold. For teams who go over the cap by $40 million or more, they will see their top draft pick fall ten spots overall.

Also under this CBA, 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 receive home field advantage.

This new CBA could have brought more changes to the game, but in the end it was not meant to be. The changes made this time around were aimed at helping the smaller market teams compete with big market teams. It will also give free agents better opportunities to sign with new teams now that they do not have a big draft pick compensation hanging over their heads. While some of the biggest issues were not totally resolved, this seems like a deal that will make the game better.