|Pros and Cons of MLB’s New CBA Agreement||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on December 01, 2011
Unlike the NFL and NBA, MLB sat down to hash out a new collective bargaining agreement, and negotiations went smoothly. The league agreed to a new five-year deal on Nov. 22.
MLB had its labor strike in 1994, so Commissioner Bud Selig set out to make all parties happy, and the new deal does that for the most part.
When looking at the deal, several pros and cons are apparent right away. While many provisions won't be felt right away, some new pieces will take affect right away.
Here is AtHomePlate's analysis of the new CBA agreement.
The decision will be made by March 1 whether this new system will go into play in 2012 or wait until 2013. Still, it gives two more teams hope of playing in the postseason. Additionally, interleague games will be played throughout the schedule starting in 2013.
Next, the "Type A" and "Type B" free agent distinctions are no more. Rather than have to forfeit a draft pick for each free agent, compensation will only be awarded given certain circumstances.
A player will be subject to draft-pick compensation only if that player spent the entire season with the parent team. So a team that acquires a rental player at the July trade deadline will not be rewarded with a draft pick if that player signs elsewhere in the offseason.
Also, the parent team must offer the player a guaranteed one-year contract equal to the average salary of the 125 highest paid players from the prior season. Even so, the new team won't be subject to losing a top-10 draft pick but would instead lose its second-highest pick.
The new deadline for signing draft picks will be between July 12 and July 18, depending on the date of the All-Star Game. This would allow some of the top draft picks to make their professional debuts during that same season.
By 2014, the minimum salary will rise to $500,000. Also, expansion of instant replay will include "fair or foul" calls and plays in which the ball has been trapped.
After a year in which many of the big name All-Stars skipped the game, the new CBA makes participation in the All-Star Game mandatory unless the player is unable to play due to injury or has the permission of the commissioner. The whole point of the All-Star Game is to bring together the best players -- especially if the game determines World Series home-field advantage -- to compete for their league.
Moving on, the 15 largest market teams will not receive revenue-sharing funds by 2016. However, the smaller market teams weren't forgotten in this deal. The clubs with the lowest revenue in the smallest market will have the chance to obtain one of six additional bonus draft picks.
Finally, players will be subjected to random HGH blood testing, and players will be forced to follow a policy regarding use of social media.
The major con of this deal is the restriction placed on the amount of money a team can spend on its draft picks. The new CBA institutes penalties for paying over the recommended slot value.
Any team that exceeds the recommended slot by up to 5 percent must pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. Teams spending between 5-10 percent over slot must pay the 75 percent tax and will lose its first-round pick in the next year's draft. Going 10-15 percent over slot results in 100 percent tax and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. If a team spends 15 percent over slot, they'll face a 100 percent tax and will lose their first-round pick in two subsequent drafts.
As a result of these restrictions, small market teams, such as the Pirates and Royals, will be at a huge disadvantage. These teams pride themselves on spending big bucks to sign their top draft picks by paying over slot. For example, the Pirates spent $17 million in the June draft on top picks Gerrit Cole and Josh Bell.
These teams bank on locking up their top draft picks and having them pan out, so that they will be able to get compensatory draft picks once these players sign lucrative free agent contracts elsewhere. However, now that the draft-pick compensation structure has changed, this strategy is obsolete.
Signing international players will also be subject to restrictions. Each team will have $2.9 million to spend in international bonus money, effective immediately. However, this may lead to an international player draft, resulting in more money in the hands of the owners.
Lastly, the percentage of players that are arbitration eligible after two years of service will increase from the top 17 percent to the top 22 percent. As a result, more players could be due to receive pay raises, which may cause teams to decline offering arbitration since they won't be able to afford the pay increase.
It will be interesting to see how this new CBA pans out over the next few years. The realignment and new playoff structure will likely spark the most debate, but it creates more of an equal playing field for all 30 teams.