Late last night, MLB and the MLBPA agreed on a new CBA that changes very little in the great sport of baseball. There will not be an international draft and roster size will not change as the 25 man roster remains intact until September 1 as teams will still have the right to expand to a 40 man active roster for the season’s final month.
The major change will be that teams will no longer forfeit a draft pick for signing a free agent as the union get that obstacle out of the way for players who wanted “true free agency.” As for the luxury tax threshold, it will kick in at $195 Million in 2017 growing to $210 Million in 2021. This is a 5 year agreement which means Major League Baseball will go 26 years without a work stoppage which is amazing considering the fact this was a sport that had 8 work stoppages from 1972 through 1995—but has not had one since.
This negotiation was never an issue and quite frankly both parties understand the game is so healthy right now. So any kind of a work stoppage or lockout could have dampened the fervor this game has right now as for the first time in years the country cares more about baseball than the NFL. Both ownership and the union were well aware of that and unlike past confrontations, both parties had far more to lose from a lockout so cooler heads prevailed.
I have heard that the international draft became such a sticking point both sides abandoned their stance on it and the real deadline talk was about the draft pick which the players needed while the owners wanted the increase in the luxury tax threshold to help teams that are constant offenders develop a long range plan that will curtail payments as a repeat offender. In 2017, it appears the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and Tigers will be the quartet of teams that will receive a luxury tax bill.
All in all, great news for baseball fans—no more silly CBA talk for 5 years. Let’s Play Ball!!!!