The MLB Owners and the MLB Player’s Association came to an agreement on the newest Collective Bargaining Agreement (or CBA), avoiding a lock out in the upcoming 2017 season. A CBA is an agreement that negotiates wages and other conditions of employment.
In the 1970s through the 1980s, Major League Baseball had 8 strikes and lockouts, the most damaging being the 1994-95 Strike that cancelled the World Series and might have killed the Montreal Expos forever. This was the last time Baseball had a labor issue and 21 years later, we have made it through to the other side unscathed. This is a good thing for baseball. The Owners and Players union are improving the rules around the game. It always seems like both sides are looking out for themselves, but what we got this year was compromise from both sides. Not only does this new CBA improve the rules governing the game, but it sheds light on the fact that, these two governing bodies are will to work together more than they want to destroy each other. So let’s take a look at what’s changing in this new CBA.
The 15 Day Disabled List will now be a 10 Day Disabled List
GREAT. This is a very simple idea to start off with. the 15 Day DL was put in place to keep an injured player on your roster to call up a healthy player for 15 days. That period is now shortened to 10. SIMPLE!
Smokeless Tobacco Ban
Smokeless Tobacco is now banned in both leagues. New players will be subject to the rule, but current players will be grandfathered in. In 2016, many baseball stadiums banned smokeless tobacco from their ballparks in an effort to set a good example for younger ballplayers, as well as safety concerns for their players and fans. Will this be a big deal? HOPEFULLY NOT. When Citi Field announced their stadium ban in 2016, no one seemed to bat an eye. However, when Matt Harvey began to struggle, a lot of people pointed the finger at the fact that Matt was known for packing a lip during his starts and maybe he was suffering from withdrawal during his starts.
YEAH. THAT WAS A THING. The craziest part was that it didn’t seem that farfetched. Baseball players are superstitious creatures. You treat like glove like a newborn, you always go through the same routine before stepping in the batter’s box, or you only drink Red Gatorade. It’s a routine. It’s getting into your groove. So if you have a guy who misses a part of his daily routine, you might have to remedy that before it gets to his head.
In the long run, this a great move for the MLB. Clean up your sport, clean up your act, clean up your image. Dipping and packing lips was a part of the old MLB, the new MLB stands to have a healthier future.
No International Draft
This was a point of contention between the MLBPA and the Owners. The Owners wanted some form of International Draft due to the high cost of Amateur International Free Agents, but also perhaps because of the issues with Smuggling, Extortion and Treatment of Cuban and other Latin American Players on their way to the Big Leagues.
There’s a lot of Gray to Dark Gray areas in the recruitment of young Latin American players, and it’s probably a subject for another time, but it’s something the Owners wanted to clean up. For Japanese Pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees and Red Sox spent $72 Million dollars a piece, not to the pitchers they were acquiring, but to the Japanese teams they played for, something called a “Posting Fee.”
The current climate you have now is one where the Owners are playing top dollar for players, and gambling that they payoff down the stretch. It’s been about 50/50 so far. Take Jose Abreu and Rusney Castillo, for example. Both signed a year apart, with Abreu signing for 6 years and 468 millions dollars ad Castillo for 7 years and $72.5 million. Abreu is the centerpiece of the White Sox offense, and Rusney Castillo might be the biggest signing bust in Red Sox history. $11 million is a lot to gamble on a guy with little experience at a high level.
So the CBA outline a $5-$6 million dollar spending limit per team moving forward. If a team decides to go over the limit, it isn’t clear whether or not they’ll be penalized with a tax. If they are, there’s just no way a team will risk signing a guy like Castillo to that big a contract again. Gambling on a guy’s ability to compete in the league, plus paying more for him even if he busts? Not worth it. Never worth it.