There will be no work stoppage in baseball this year.
Late last night (around 7:45 pm), reports came out that the owners and players’ union reached a new tentative agreement. The new agreement will run through the 2021 season, keeping the game going for the next five years. It still has to be ratified by both sides, but there’s no reason to believe it will not be at this point.
While the official announcement of the new deal is not out yet, we know what many of the new provisions in the new CBA will cover. Here’s what we know so far (most provisions from this article on ESPN unless otherwise linked).
- The All-Star Game will no longer decide home field advantage in the World Series. It will now go to the team with the better regular-season record. To keep an incentive in place for playing in the game, the winning team will get a payout to split among the players.
- Minimum DL stints will be reduced from 15 days to 10 days. This will allow teams to be more flexible when deciding whether or not to put a player on the disabled list.
- Beginning in 2018, the season will be expanded from 183 days to 187 days, with games starting mid-week (likely on Thursdays). The standard slate of 162 games remains the same, and the extra 4 days will allow for more off-days during the season.
- The qualifying offer system will be overhauled. Players can only receive a qualifying offer once in their career now. A team losing a player with a qualifying offer will only receive draft pick compensation if the player signs a $50 million or more deal with a new team. If a team exceeds the luxury-tax threshold, they will lose a 2nd and 5th round pick, in addition to $1 million of international bonus money. If not, they will just lose a 3rd round pick.
- The June amateur draft will also see changes. Those changes are not known at this time, but a new slotting system and draft pick trading could be among the new provisions.
- MLB minimum salaries will rise at the following rate: $535,000 in 2017, $545,000 in 2018, $555,000 in 2019, and cost of living increases the next two years.
- Minor league players with at least two appearances on the 40-man roster will also see a salary boost. They will make $86,500 in 2017, $88,000 in 2018, $89,500 in 2019, and get cost of living increases the next two years.
- The luxury-tax thresholds will increase over the next five years. Expected increase is from $195 million in 2017 to $210 million in 2021. In addition, new penalties will apply for going over the thresholds. The penalties will be phased in, with an average used in 2017 before kicking in completely in 2018.
- More international games will be scheduled. Details on these new series are not available yet, but the hope is to play games outside the US and Canada, such as in London and Mexico.
- All new players will be banned from using smokeless tobacco. Any player who has accumulated at least a day of service time prior to the ban will not be affected. This is in addition to bans already enacted in several cities, including Milwaukee last week. It has been banned in the minor leagues since 1993.
- Drug testing will be increased. Players suspended will not get major-league service time, and HGH testing starts in 2017. In addition, the domestic violence policy will also be changed.
- The revenue-sharing formula will be changed. While the changes are not known, one provision included phases the Oakland Athletics out of receiving revenue-sharing funds by 2020. Also, the New York Yankees will not have to pay as much into the funds as before, and they will continue to get reductions for funding their new ballpark.
While there are many new provisions in the deal (including many we do not know about yet), here are some of the provisions that didn’t make it.
- No roster expansion will happen at this time. This was an issue that both players and owners were divided on. It could be revisited in the future, but roster sizes will remain unchanged for now.
- Talks about an international draft were part of the negotiations, but didn’t make the final cut. Instead, bonus pools will be revised to include a hard cap.
All of these details are still pending approval from both sides, and there are plenty of more details from the agreement that we won’t know about for a while. However, it’s good to know that for now, baseball will continue uninterrupted.
EDIT #1: Here are the details on draft-pick compensation for teams that lose a player who received a qualifying offer and signs a new deal with another team for $50 million or more. If the team is in one of the smallest 15 markets, they will get a pick immediately after the first round. If the team has exceeded the luxury tax threshold, the pick will be after the fourth round. All other teams would get a pick after the competitive balance round following the second round.
EDIT #2: Jon Heyman has the new details on international pools. Small markets will get $5.75 million to spend, while medium markets get $5.25 million and large markets $4.75 million.