Negotiations for MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement went quite quickly and smoothly. Now that the CBA is official, Major League Baseball will go two decades without work stoppage.
The new bargaining agreement makes some big changes, as well as smaller ones some may not have noticed. Draft picks and free agents were a big focus of negotiations, as were money limitations that may have hurt smaller market teams more than anything.
These are 10 things you may or may not know about the new CBA.
The addition of a second wild card team in each league is one of the more debated topics of the CBA.
Starting no later than 2013, each pair of wild card teams will have a one-game playoff to decide who will advance to each league’s Division Series.
The Houston Astros will move to the American League West. This will balance out the American and National Leagues, as well as evening out all the divisions with five teams apiece.
They will not move until 2013.
The bonus pools will change after next year’s crop of free agents because after that, the free agent format will totally change. The rules that go along with a player’s status as a Type A or B free agent will be a thing of the past.
To get a compensation pick, the team must offer the free agent a guaranteed contract equal to the average of the top 125 paid players in MLB. That number comes out to about $12 million.
Another new rule of compensation picks: They can only be given for a player who was with the team the entire year. Trading for a Type A free agent late in the season in order to get compensation picks no longer works.
Major League Baseball continues its work against performance-enhancing drugs through a new mandatory human growth hormone test. While MLB already conducts random tests, it has changed so that testing will begin during spring training in February.
Positive HGH tests will be taken just as seriously as a positive steroid test. Players with positive tests will receive a 50-game suspension.
2013 will see a new draft lottery. It will try to make sure no one team has a huge amount of draft picks like the Tampa Bay Rays did in the 2011 draft.
Six picks after the first and second rounds will be given to the bottom teams in market size and revenue.
This season, the minimum salary was $414,000.
That will rise to $480,000 next year. Later on, it will reach half a million dollars.
The new CBA tries to moderate expenditures on draft picks. Signing bonus pools will be “the sum of the values of that Club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft.”
These pools are influenced by each club’s amount of draft picks, as well as the location of each of those picks in the draft. If teams exceed the money allowed in their pool, they will have to provide some sort of compensation, be it a tax or loss of draft picks the next year.
After next year’s class of free agents, the size of the pools should begin to standardize.
Previously, the 2006-2011 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement stated: "The provisions of this Agreement shall be applied to all Players covered by this Agreement without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."
The new CBA will include the words “sexual orientation” to the list of attributes. Lawyers on both sides of negotiations recognized it should be included, according to union executive director Michael Weiner.
Danny Hultzen, signed with the Seattle Mariners
Starting next year, clubs will have to wait a bit longer for star prospects to come up through the ranks. Draftees will only be able to sign minor-league contracts - no more major-league.
Also, they must sign by mid July, not mid August, which will alter influences regarding college ball.
New rules have come into play regarding international players. They must now be registered with MLB scouting bureau in order to be eligible to sign with a team.
Pools of players will be similar to the Draft. The amount of allotted spending money will be inversely proportional to a team’s winning percentage, so those that are winning now will have a tougher time building later on.
Ally Williams is a B/R MLB Featured Columnist. To contact, leave a note below or follow Ally on Twitter for updates and a constant sarcastic interpretation of the sports world.