PLAY BALL! MLB owners and players reach agreement on a new CBA

Bless You Boys

Major League Baseball owners and players finally reached agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that will allow for a full 162 game season to be played in 2022.

The players’ representatives went against the recommendation of their eight-man executive council who rejected the proposal on an 8- 0 vote and approved the new agreement by a 26- 12 tally.

MLB owners threw in a couple of last minute demands for the players to drop their pending grievances against four teams for failure to spend revenue sharing dollars on improving their teams, and for failure to schedule as many games as possible in 2020. We’ll see how that played out as details emerge.

Reports are that the regular season will begin on April 7, with spring exhibition games starting on March 17 or 18. The transaction freeze will be lifted tonight.

Here are some of the details of the agreement:

Competitive Balance Tax

  • The collective bargaining tax thresholds, which have been the hardest part of negotiations in this round, will be set at $230 million, with three additional tiers at $20 million increments. ($230M, $250M, $270M and $290M in 2022)
  • The lowest threshold will be $230, $233M, $237M, $241M, $244M million over the five years of the deal
  • Tax rates at the tiers will be the same as the previous CBA according to last reports, except for the new highest tier
  • No report on any additional penalties, which were the topic of discussions

Minimum Salary- pre Arbitration Bonus Pool

  • The minimum salary will increase from $570,500 to $700,000 in 2022, and will increase $20 million per season to $780,000 over the five year term of the agreement.
  • A new pre- arbitration bonus pool of $50 million will be drawn from the central revenue fund to pay the games top young players who are not yet eligible for arbitration. The amount will remain flat over five years.
  • The pool will count $1.66 million per club for CBT payroll purposes.

Expanded Playoffs, Universal DH

  • Playoffs will expand to 12 teams, starting in 2022.
  • The two division winning teams with the best records in each league will have a first round bye. The third division winner and the highest wild card team will host a first round three game series- all games at home. This will net about $85 million from ESPN plus MLB’s portion of gate receipts.
  • The designated hitter will be used universally in both leagues starting in 2022

Options, Draft Lottery

  • Players can be optioned to the minor leagues a maximum of five times during one season
  • The top six selections in the amateur draft will be chosen by a lottery among all non playoff teams
  • Small market teams who received a lottery pick in two straight years could select no higher than 10th in the next year
  • Large market teams who received a lottery pick could draft no higher than 10th in the second year

Service Time

  • The top two players in rookie of the year voting will receive a full year of service time extra
  • A team that has a rookie finish high in the voting can get up to three bonus draft picks if the player was on their opening day roster

Free agent compensation

  • Teams will not pay compensation for signing free agent players- formerly subject to a qualifying offer, conditional upon the parties agreeing to terms on an international draft by July 25, 2022.
  • Teams may receive a draft pick for losing a free agent player in some circumstances. Details on this point are scarce.

International Draft

  • A 20 round International draft explained here at MLB.com will be implemented if the parties agree to terms by July 25, 2022. MLB insisted on this in exchange for eliminating free agent compensation, and it was a contentious sticking point until the end. Only by making that its own separate negotiation was the deal finally moved along to completion.

Playing Rules

  • MLB may use a pitch clock starting in 2023
  • There will be larger bases and restrictions on defensive shifts, also in 2023
  • MLB may implement any rule changes without players’ approval within 45 days of the end of each season, to apply in the next playing season.
  • Players will wear advertising patches on uniforms and helmets, estimated to bring in $6-8 million per year, per team

Grievances

  • MLB demanded in their last proposal that the union drop grievances related to four teams failing to spend revenue sharing dollars to improve their teams on the field and a $500 million grievance related to MLB’s failure to schedule as many games as possible in 2020

Ghostbusters

It was reported that the players offered a 14 team playoff format, but only if it included a “ghost win” for the higher seeded team in a five game series, and the owners rejected that idea, thankfully. But if one of the rules that Manfred seeks to bring back involves ghost runners in extra innings, all will be lost.

You do the math

The minimum salary increase represents a pay hike of 22.7 percent for pre arbitration players, who make up the great majority of the MLBPA membership, most of whom will never see arbitration, let alone free agency. The bonus pool gives the best young stars a performance based bonus before reaching arbitration. That whole package- minimum salary and pre arbitration bonus will cost teams an average of under $3 million each.

Scheduling issues

Details on how the 162 game schedule will be reworked have yet to be announced, but we can expect at least the first two series, which were previously canceled, will have to be rescheduled. ,

The Detroit Tigers may have to add a late season west coast swing to make up canceled games in April.

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