CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (11/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article On the Beat: A Team Ef... (11/23)
Next Column >>
Premium Article On the Beat: Still Sab... (12/02)
Next Article >>
Future Shock: Cubs Top... (11/24)

November 23, 2011

On the Beat

What Price Labor Peace?

by John Perrotto

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association unveiled the latest collective bargaining agreement yesterday afternoon, and it brings numerous changes, many of them major.

Before we break down the new CBA, though, let's pause and attempt to digest just how remarkable it is that both sides were able to come to an agreement without the slightest trace of rancor. Things have certainly changed from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, when the sides despised each other and refused to cooperate on even the tiniest labor issue, a stance that caused repeated work stoppages.

It is a tribute to MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner, MLB lead negotiator Rob Manfred, and, yes, even Commissioner Bud Selig that both sides can now compromise and put the best interest of the sport at the forefront of all negotiations. While the latest CBA won't please everybody, it is heartening to know that the sport will have had 21 continuous years of labor peace once the five-year contract expires after the 2016 season.

Labor peace may be the norm for the new generation of baseball fans. For those of us who have been around longer, it often seemed that world peace would be achieved before labor peace in baseball.

Now, on to some of the CBA highlights and my thoughts on them:

Free agents who sign minor-leaguer contracts who are not added to opening day roster or are unconditionally released five days prior to the start of the season will receive a $100,000 retention bonus and the right to elect free agency June 1.

This is fair for the marginal player who fails to land a major-league contract in free agency. One of the situations a player fears most is being released on the final day of spring training when the other 29 club have their rosters set, thus being frozen out of finding a major-league job to start the season. This alleviates those concerns.

Starting in 2012, Type A and Type B free agents and the use of the Elias ranking system will be eliminated.

Getting rid of the archaic system is a great victory for everyone, whether you're a sabermetrician or a casual fan.

The current system of draft pick compensation will be replaced with the following system:

 Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.

A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players from the prior season. The offer must be made at the end of the five-day free agent “quiet period,” and the player will have seven days to accept the offer.

A club that signs a player subject to compensation will forfeit its first round selection, unless it selects in the top 10, in which case it will forfeit its second highest selection in the draft.

The player’s former club will receive a selection at the end of the first round beginning after the last regularly scheduled selection in the round. The former clubs will select based on reverse order of winning percentage from the prior championship season.

This is a much better system on every level. It gives teams a greater chance to retain their free agents and also gives clubs more incentive to try to sign elite free agents, since they won't always have to fear losing a high draft pick. It's a win for everyone.

The Rule 4 Draft, also known as the first-year player draft or amateur draft, will continue to be conducted in June, but the signing deadline will be moved to a date between July 12 and July 18 depending on the date of the All-Star Game.

Drafted players may only sign minor-league contracts.

Each club will be assigned an aggregate signing bonus pool prior to each draft. For the purpose of calculating the signing bonus pools, each pick in the first 10 rounds of the draft has been assigned a value. (These values will grow each year with the rate of growth of industry revenue). A club’s signing bonus pool equals the sum of the values of that Club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the draft.

Players selected after the 10th round do not count against a club’s signing bonus pool if they receive bonuses up to $100,000. Any amounts paid in excess of $100,000 will count against the pool.

Clubs that exceed their signing bonus pools will be subject to penalties as follows:

Excess of Pool Penalty

 (tax on overage/draft picks)

• 0-5%

75% tax on overage

• 5-10%

75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick

• 10-15%

100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks

• 15%+

 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts

Proceeds generated by the tax will be distributed to payee clubs under the revenue sharing plan that do not exceed their signing bonus pools. Draft picks that are forfeited by clubs will be awarded to other Clubs through a lottery in which a club’s odds of winning will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage and its prior season’s revenue. Only clubs that do not exceed their signing bonus pools are eligible for the lottery.

Competitive Balance Lottery

For the first time, clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets will have an opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery.

The 10 clubs with the lowest revenues and the 10 clubs in the smallest markets will be entered into a lottery for the six draft selections immediately following the completion of the first round of the draft. A club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage.

The eligible clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round and all other payee clubs under the revenue sharing plan will be entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the completion of the second round of the draft. A club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage.

Picks awarded in the Competitive Balance Lottery may be assigned by a club, subject to certain restrictions.

The top 200 prospects will be subject to a pre-draft drug test and will participate in a pre-draft medical program.

Selig says the major revamping of the draft is to help small-market clubs be more competitive. That is hard to fathom when the Pirates and Royals, two of the smallest of the small-market franchises, have used the draft and over-slot spending as their primary means of overhauling ailing farm systems. The draft was the one place small-market clubs had a chance to compete with the big-money franchises, and they have now lost that advantage.

I do like the idea of being able to trade the supplemental lottery picks. It's a nice new wrinkle, but MLB should go one step further and allow clubs to trade all of their draft picks. If the small-market clubs can no longer benefit by spending in the draft, at least they could gain something by having the option of trading their picks or receiving additional selections in deals.

Players, managers, and coaches will be prohibited from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews and club appearances. In addition, at any time when fans are permitted in the ballpark, players, managers and coaches must conceal tobacco products (including packages and tins), and may not carry tobacco products in their uniforms or on their bodies. Individuals who violate the policy will be subject to discipline. The parties also agreed upon an extensive program of education and public outreach regarding the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

The parties agreed on a program of mandatory evaluation by a trained professional for players who are suspected of an alcohol use problem (including players who are arrested for DWI or other crimes involving alcohol), and for players who are arrested for crimes involving the use of force or violence.

The parties agreed that no new players will be permitted to use a low density maple bat during the term of the agreement.

By 2013, all major league players will wear a new batting helmet developed by Rawlings that protects against pitches thrown at 100 mph. The new version of the helmet is significantly less “bulky” than prior versions of the more protective helmet.

The concussion policy that was implemented prior to the 2011 season has been improved and will remain in effect for the duration of the basic agreement

It's hard for any right-thinking person to disagree with any of this. I chewed tobacco for 20 years, beginning as a freshman in a high school. I can say from experience that it is a vile habit, and I feel blessed that it did not result in any health problems. The sooner maple bats are eliminated and the new high-impact batting helmets are made mandatory, the better, because I have long feared that a death on the field might be the only way to get legislation passed on either piece of equipment. And, no, I'm not trying to be overdramatic by writing that.

Beginning in spring training 2012, all players will be subject to hGH blood testing for reasonable cause at all times during the year. In addition, during each year, all players will be tested during spring training. Starting with the 2012-13 offseason, players will be subject to random unannounced testing for hGH. The parties have also agreed on a process to jointly study the possibility of expanding blood testing to include in-season collections.

The players agreed to this with almost no resistance during the negotiations, and I applaud them for that. Giving a blood sample is never fun, and I could only imagine how bothered I would be if a lab technician showed up unannounced at my home and wanted to stick a needle in my arm. However, the players are adamant that they want the fans to know that they are clean and that the game is on the up-and-up.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

68 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

CBA Freedom Watch: Despite pressure from some Nanny Staters in Congress, baseball did not ban tobacco from MLB. However, wide-eyed impressionable tots were protected by banning chaws from post-game interviews, and players can't keep a tin of the stuff in their back pocket. Forget the defecit, the nation is on the right track! Of course, if MLB really cared about the freckle-faced youth of America, post-season games wouldn't last till around midnight. But luckily, tobacco has been banned in the minors, because we know how many kids have role models playing for the Albuquerque Dukes. Also, despite pressure from some progressive educators, both teams will not have to line up after games and sing "2-4-6-8 Who do we appreciate" at each other.
The Occupy Yankee Stadium crowd got some love by a raising of the luxury tax. Funny how some of these teams who cry loudest about the Yankees are teams that get their only good crowds of the season when the Evil Empire is in town. But steps must be taken towards the rich "paying their fair share" towards a classless society or, in baseball jargon, "a level playing field."
No steps were taken to eliminate the playing of "God Bless America", which seems to have become mandatory at every park's 7th-inning stretch. (Maybe not in Toronto, or if the A's move to Berkeley). I don't know which is the worse legacy of 9/11; TSA groping at the airport or having to stand for "God Bless.." at every ballgame. Phony forced patriotism. We have the national anthem; that's enough. Anything that speeds up the game is good.
Which won't happen with the expanded video replay rules. The real problem here is the increasing proliferation of incompetent umpires. But of course the umps also have a union, so the ability to adequately perform a job would be an unreasonable standard to which to hold them.

Nov 23, 2011 03:11 AM
rating: -14
 
CRP13

I think some of that was "herd mentality minusing." I thought the post hilarious and sarcastic, and I'm pretty sure that's what you were going for.

Nov 23, 2011 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Having waded through the rest of your comments, I will addendum and say that the rest of your complaining is pretty pointless. But the first one above made me smirk.

Nov 23, 2011 10:54 AM
rating: 2
 
Behemoth

You think?

Nov 23, 2011 16:24 PM
rating: 0
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

free speech rules here at the Prospectus. Not.

Nov 23, 2011 06:29 AM
rating: -19
 
Behemoth

I also wish to have the right to post asinine drivel without other people being able to have the right to comment on it, or vote it down.

Nov 23, 2011 06:36 AM
rating: 13
 
jalee121

Protip: the first amendment applies to the Government restricting your right to free speech. Not private companies like BP.

Nov 23, 2011 10:53 AM
rating: 6
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

the pussification of America continues

Nov 23, 2011 06:31 AM
rating: -39
 
rcrary

wow you are an enormous baby

Nov 23, 2011 06:34 AM
rating: 14
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Impressionable people must be protected from non-liberal thoughts. Whichever politically correct morons removed my comments should have had the guts or intelligence to respond.

Nov 23, 2011 06:35 AM
rating: -30
 
Behemoth

Regrettably, your comments are still there for everyone to see. The good thing is that they are likely to influence people in a significantly more liberal direction.

Nov 23, 2011 06:37 AM
rating: 4
 
Nathan

This is true, alas. :)

Nov 23, 2011 10:06 AM
rating: 1
 
vtadave

Disclaimer:

dodgerken does not represent the true feelings of Dodgers fans such as myself.

Nov 23, 2011 16:43 PM
rating: 2
 
Brian Kopec

lolz. Some people can see the evil hand of liberalism even in the MLB CBA!

*reaches for tin foil hat*

Nov 23, 2011 06:57 AM
rating: 11
 
Yarky1

In a way, your comments probably get more attention than well-thought-out, interesting ones do because people think "I wonder what could have been said that was so bad." So, you know, you can take heart in that.

Nov 23, 2011 08:16 AM
rating: 4
 
Behemoth

That's true, actually. I always read all the below the threshold ones. They probably get more attention than the mundane comments do.

Nov 23, 2011 08:21 AM
rating: 3
 
Patrick

They are generally more entertaining, after all.

Nov 23, 2011 20:15 PM
rating: 1
 
flyingdutchman

Classic dodgerken! We must do whatever we can to prevent the Stalinist Hitlerist Liberals from taking away all of our comments section posting rights, a slippery slope indeed!

Nov 25, 2011 12:16 PM
rating: 1
 
Behemoth

On a more serious level, the caps on spending for international young players are probably one of the most important (and worst) parts of the CBA, and should really have been mentioned in the article.

Nov 23, 2011 06:39 AM
rating: 6
 
Randy Brown
(189)

I agree. I also can't wait for all the legal action in places like the Venezuela and the Dominican Republic to challenge this part of the CBA.

Presumably, Japan is unaffected, and the posting system will still apply there. Why is Japan treated differently?

Nov 23, 2011 07:18 AM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

Because that's about mature talent - there is also an exception for Cuban players who are older than 23, and have played professionally for 3 years.

Nov 23, 2011 07:56 AM
rating: 0
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

What is assinine drivel to some are constitutional rights to others. Taking their lead from their comrades at Occupy, you people think you have the right to shout anything down.

Nov 23, 2011 06:55 AM
rating: -24
 
R.A.Wagman

I would hazard to write that the reason many of your comments get 'minused' is that you have the tendency to turn almost any baseball-related topic into a hard-line political rant. More baseball, less pussification and you may find that more people will be interested in what you have to say.

Nov 23, 2011 07:02 AM
rating: 10
 
jrmayne

RA: As a Republican, Dodger fan, and lawyer with some expertise on what constitutional rights actually are, I say to you this: Don't feed the trolls.

Nov 23, 2011 07:17 AM
rating: 11
 
DDriesen

Dude, take your meds...

Nov 23, 2011 07:13 AM
rating: 3
 
Nathan

The Constitution requires BP to publish your writing without community moderation? I guess I need to read up.

Nov 23, 2011 10:08 AM
rating: 4
 
jalee121

"Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be"

http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-passionate-defender-of-what-he-imagines-c,2849/

I swear, the Onion had DodgerKen in mind when they wrote this.

Nov 23, 2011 15:38 PM
rating: 10
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

The difference between us, behemouth, is that I would never ask for your assinine drivel to be removed. I may not agree with what you say, but I'd defend to the death your right to say it.

Nov 23, 2011 07:06 AM
rating: -19
 
Behemoth

Minusing doesn't remove your comments - it just means people can choose not to read them if they don't want to. Given the comments that you made, that seems entirely reasonable. Also, BP has no obligation to allow you full free speech rights on their website, as you undoubtedly know.

Nov 23, 2011 07:54 AM
rating: 11
 
Dan W.

And I may not agree with your consistent misspelling of "asinine," but I'll defend to the death your right to continue misspelling it, and I'll continue to judge you harshly for doing so.

Nov 23, 2011 10:26 AM
rating: 24
 
flyingdutchman

Grab your muskets and your tricorne hats, gentlemen, and join dodgerken in ye cobbled town square! This tyranny of having to click on comments in order to see them shant continue!

Nov 25, 2011 12:21 PM
rating: 4
 
jrmayne

I think the (effective) hard-slotting is good for the small-market teams. Signability becomes a non-issue.

It occurs to me that there's a way to game the system if you wanted to pay a high draft pick more; you could draft people you don't want and use that money on another player. Still, since you'll get to sign everyone if you don't screw it up, I don't see this happening on any kind of regular basis.

I think the CBA is good for the fan experience of baseball.

Nov 23, 2011 07:15 AM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

Except that the problem is not that all the big market teams sign the best players. It's the intelligent teams that sign the best players, whether they are big or small market - teams like Pittsburg, KC and so on now have a much harder job to be competitive.

Nov 23, 2011 07:48 AM
rating: 3
 
fflakes41

Do you believe the teams and agents will work together to make sure the kids sign, or will we see an uptick in un-signed amateur players? In other words, will agents throw fits because they won't be reaching the signing bonuses of years past, or will they adapt to the new standards in time to sign?

Nov 23, 2011 07:19 AM
rating: 1
 
smocon

Selig is such a buffoon. How he feels the draft reshaping gives small market teams an advantage only proves how out of touch he really is. He was only annoyed to the point that his former team doesnt overspend in the draft as a small market team and felt that this was a key point to address.

Nov 23, 2011 07:20 AM
rating: 0
 
John Hilton

Actually, I'm not sure that the new draft signing rules are harmful to small market clubs.

The biggest problem (well, I don't think it was a problem, just cough up the money) in the previous system was that smaller revenue clubs were not necessarily taking the best player available due to signability issues. An excellent example of this was the Blue Jays last year - they managed to get the top left-handed high school pitcher in the draft (projected) in the supplemental round because he wanted too much money and they were the only club willing to give it to him. Another example is include Rick Porcello; he would have been taken much higher than Detroit if he could not demand a high signing bonus.

Under the new system, the amount of money available to sign draft picks is finite. The elite player can't sit there and say, "Ok, give me 10 million or I will walk," knowing the Yankees will pony up because now the Yankees can't. There is now a major incentive for draftees to sign because the finances WON'T be better the next year and you lost out on a year towards achieving the golden road - free agency. It is possible for a club to go "full out" on a single player and sacrifice the next year's draft in order to get an elite player, but that would require collusion with the agent in order to get the player to fall to that particular team; this could be potentially fatal to the drafting team as the contract would be void and there would be financial and draft pick penalties.

I dislike the caps on international players. If they are not going to be subject to the draft, then let the small market teams try and acquire them with cash. If you cap their earnings, it is just making it cheaper for the Red Sox, Yankees and other really rich clubs to get these players.

Nov 23, 2011 07:43 AM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

How does this help Red Sox, Yankees, et al. get the international talent?
The cap is so low that all teams can afford it. I dislike it as well, but do not see it as giving any one team an undue advantage. It just screws the kids. Three cheers for the billionaires!

Nov 23, 2011 07:50 AM
rating: 3
 
randolph3030

This system seems ripe for exploitation.
If three teams all offer the same amount, the shady middle-men will dictate which one the kid signs with based on "future consideration", methinks.

Nov 23, 2011 07:59 AM
rating: 5
 
John Hilton

It is ironic that the only player that didn't sign in the 1st round last year was Tyler Beade, who was drafted by the Jays (I'm a Jays fan if you couldn't tell). He really screwed himself by not signing because he is going to get far less money this year. He really got bad advice from his agent because everyone knew these changes were coming.

Nov 23, 2011 07:46 AM
rating: 3
 
Behemoth

What the draft actually does is stop any team getting too much young talent. The talent that is there (and there probably will be somewhat less than before) will be spread more evenly around the 30 clubs. The reason that this is a bad thing is that, to rebuild, you need to get significantly more than your fair share of young talent, and it's much harder to do this now.

Nov 23, 2011 07:52 AM
rating: 2
 
John Hilton

@Behemoth

Is that true? My interpretation of the rules is that for every slot in rounds 1-10 has a "value" attached to it, and the team that holds the slot gets that "value" added to their pool. So, if a team has 7 1st round picks, then the value of those 7 slots is added to their spending pool. Am I wrong about this, because if I am, then this deal is significantly worse than I thought.

Nov 23, 2011 07:59 AM
rating: 1
 
Behemoth

I think you're right, but it's very difficult to accumulate a lot of picks because draft pick compensation has been cut way back, and that teams no longer have an option to go significantly over-slot for a range of players. As a practical example, under the new system, I'm pretty sure that the Pirates still get Taillon and Cole over the last couple of years. Having done that, I think there is no chance that they can stretch for additional players of the order of Allie and Bell, which makes their rebuidling process that much slower and longer.

Nov 23, 2011 08:07 AM
rating: 3
 
Nate W.

I'm not sure whether it would have a large effect either way, but just to clarify, when they say "a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players from the prior season," is that mean or median?

Nov 23, 2011 09:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Shkspr

I would assume they meant the mean salary, as I assume it would be easier to say "the 63rd highest salary" rather than "the [median] of the top 125 salaries."

Nov 23, 2011 12:08 PM
rating: 3
 
Nathan

Forget about competitive balance. It strikes me as unfair that drafted athletes--many of whom have opted out of college and most of whom will never make the big leagues--will not be allowed to negotiate fair market value for their services. This sort of collusion to lower wages is illegal in other industries and at least ought to be considered from an ethical standpoint, not just a fiscal one, by Major League Baseball.

Nov 23, 2011 10:04 AM
rating: 7
 
John Carter

The CBA are the rules as determined by the owners and the Major League players. Hence, they want to plug up that ever increasing cost leak that was going towards signing prospects. Who's to say what's fair? They do. And, if a pure meritocracy is what's fair, then paying prospects less before they've proven they can play in the Major Leagues is a step towards fairness. - Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but giving another point of view.

Nov 23, 2011 11:12 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

It seemed to me that the change in free agent compensation could be called the 'Billy Beane Rule'. It more or less precludes getting compensation by essentially encouraging start free agents to walk.

Nov 23, 2011 10:20 AM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

"Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation."
I think this may be the change that has the greatest impact on the game as we know it. The draft cap is interesting, but may not have more than a marginal effect on how things play out, as the raised cap leaves room for mucking around.
The rule of compensation only going for players who have stayed with the same team throughout the entire season will push more teams into early contract extensions for soon-to-be free agents, eliminate pre-free-agency deals, other than for bench types. There will likely be fewer deals involving top prospects as GMs can focus their calculus on the expected gains the player can provide on the field, and not worry about prospective value from potential compensation.
Once a team with a prospective FA gives up trying to sign him, his market value will drop due to cratering leverage. This could be interesting.

Nov 23, 2011 11:25 AM
rating: 4
 
eliyahu

Say what you will about free market value, and I suspect Kevin Goldstein strongly disagrees, but it strikes me that this new system will better serve what the draft was intended to do: give the weakest teams the better amateur players. I'm not sure at all that I buy the argument that KC and Pittsburgh have used the draft to improve by virtue of being smarter, but even if the have, now, they no longer need to be "smarter;" teams are free to take the best player available with far reduced fears about whether that player will sign.

The one, quasi-legitimate claim I've heard from opponents is that this will discourage multi-sport stars from choosing baseball. This may or may not be true, but the lifetime earnings of a baseball player are so much larger than that of the NFL that if baseball loses an occasional Bubba Starling or Zach Lee because they're only willing to play baseball if they get a big signing bonus, that's a price I'm willing to live with.

Nov 23, 2011 11:26 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

You are right - this is a very Conservative CBA. Discourage intelligent thinking, encourage big dollars.

Nov 23, 2011 11:27 AM
rating: 0
 
Mr. Cthulhu

I think the actual intent of the draft was to reduce the cost of signing amateur talent that had been rapidly escalating. So, in that sense this new deal does better serve the original intent I guess.

Nov 23, 2011 13:38 PM
rating: 4
 
Behemoth

The problem is that to rebuild, and counteract the advantage that big market teams have through being able to spend heavily on free agents, it takes more talent than you can get through simply spending your quota of money in the draft. That's why the Pirates, for example, as well as signing Cole and Taillon over the last couple of years, also spent heavily on players like Allie and Bell (which they wouldn't be able to do under the new CBA). This makes the rebuild in Pittsburgh that much slower than before.

Other teams spend heavily on international youngsters - the Rangers for example, don't have a huge payroll, but have spent heavily in Latin America to build up the farm. This is also not allowed any more. The Rays have an academy in Brazil, but this does them little good now, as they have to register all prospects, giving other teams the chance to sign them too, and they will find it that much harder to take young talent away from soccer, where the very best youngsters can earn many millions by 20-21.

The teams that will actually benefit from this are the ones, say like the White Sox, who have chosen not to spend time or money on young talent, although they have the resources to do so if they wanted to. I would suspect that under these rules, you could put together an acceptable draft just from paying slot, and reading about the young players on the internet.

Nov 23, 2011 16:38 PM
rating: 1
 
eliyahu

"The problem is that to rebuild, and counteract the advantage that big market teams have through being able to spend heavily on free agents, it takes more talent than you can get through simply spending your quota of money in the draft."

Not that straightforward. When you draft earlier, you get better talent and a higher quota. This new system should prevent the distortions of players telling certain teams they won't sign with them so they can get to the organization they want. I *know* this rubs some people the wrong way -- in which other industry is an employee locked into an employer at the outset of his career? -- but this does address the issue that the draft was built for, namely, getting the best players to the weakest teams.

Nov 23, 2011 17:21 PM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

Yes, while this is good for us fans if the savings from signing bonuses and Latin American player development translate into cheaper prices and keep more jobs in our economies, it is a blow to financial security of many baseball prospects, the personal freedom for the star prospect, and to the economies of those developing Latin American nations. This may also dampen the ever evolving quality of baseball playing to a small degree.

It will be interesting to see if it all plays out as planned, who will be the first agent to find a loop hole in the new agreement, etc.

Has anybody said they think this might backfire? Perhaps, this will be construed as collusion.

Nov 23, 2011 19:23 PM
rating: 0
 
smallflowers

"This makes the rebuild in Pittsburgh that much slower than before."

Jesus, Mary & Joseph.

Nov 23, 2011 17:40 PM
rating: 0
 
D1Johnson

THank you for the overview and excellent initial discussion of the CBA agreement. I hope that as more time has elapsed to study the intricacies of the agreement that a more detailed analysis of the agreement will be provided. For example, starting with first highlight, what free agents last year signed a minor-league contract and were not added to the opening day roster?; who was unconditionally released five days prior to the start of the season?

Nov 23, 2011 12:57 PM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

I had trouble understanding what that clause means. What is the difference between a player released 6 days before the start of the season and one released 4 days before?

Nov 23, 2011 15:17 PM
rating: 0
 
Behemoth

It's pretty much an arbitrary cutoff to deal with the problem of a player being cut right at the end of spring training, and not being able to get a job anywhere else even if he is actually good enough to play, simply because rosters are fixed by that point.

Nov 23, 2011 16:28 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Thanks, although, I get the intention, I'm not following the logic - even though it sounds simple and straightforward: "Free agents who sign minor-leaguer contracts who are not added to opening day roster or are unconditionally released five days prior to the start of the season will receive a $100,000 retention bonus and the right to elect free agency June 1."

So, if a player is unconditionally released 6 days before the start, then is signed by another team two days later and he makes that other team's opening day roster: he gets $100,000 and June 1 free agency, right? because he is still released 5 days before the start. It states "or" so if either condition exists he gets the benefits. No team would likely want to sign him under those circumstances, because they would lose him in two months.

However, if he is released 4 days before the start of the season, signs with another team, and makes their opening day roster, he gets nothing. That would motivate teams to hold him until 4 days before the start, to lessen the chance that they will have to pay that 100G. Again, that is the opposite of the intention of this clause. It would make a bit more sense if it was "released within 5 days prior . . ."

But still, I can't see how the June 1 free agency helps at all, if the player is released. I could see that applying to the player who didn't make the opening day roster and was sent back to the minors, but that could work against the player: a) presumably, he would only get a contract for up to June and could be cut off after that; b) fewer teams will be willing to sign a struggling veteran under these conditions.

I could see the 100 grand retention for players cut within 5 days of the season's start - to tide them over until they find a new team to play for - like a severance package.

However, I do not see how teams and players benefit from both things happening if either condition applies.

Nov 23, 2011 20:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Brian Cartwright

If a player comes to camp as a NRI, stays until opening day, but then is assigned to AAA - he gets $100k and can become a free agent two months later on June 1. If he is released within 5 days of opening day he gets $100k. 6 or more days, nada.

Remember also what is being quoted everywhere is the summary MLB published, not the exact language in the CBA, which is hopefully more concise in situations such as these.

Nov 28, 2011 00:31 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

So, the arbitration and free agent eligibility rules remain intact?

Nov 23, 2011 15:19 PM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

I know it's accepted in these parts that small market teams can/need to build their farm system by signing top talents who fall in the draft, but is this really true? Baseball America ran a little thing a few weeks ago tracking signability picks who fell, and it wasn't exactly inspiring:
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2011/2612572.html

Jered Weaver is excellent, Kazmir was, then there's Stephen Drew who's good-not-great, a few decent players like Daniel Bard and Xavier Nady, and a whole bunch of Roscoe Crosby and Vince Sinisi.

It's hard to say whether this is better or worse than typical draft performance since it's only about 20 players, etc., and it doesn't include players who weren't top-15 ranked but still signed for 1st round money (like Matt Tuiasosopo or Jason Adam). A more systematic study would be very interesting (paging Rany Jazayerli?). But I think it demonstrates that the Majors aren't exactly bursting with superstars who could have been Pirates and Royals if only they'd ponied up a couple extra $mil.

The facts are, 1)not many of the elite talents really slip during the draft (usually only one or two) so most teams aren't actually losing out, 2)even the elite talents are unlikely to pan out, and 3)the draft talent outside the top 5 or so (really the top 1) is pretty flat. There simply isn't much difference between then #8 and #17 guys, or the #20 and #50 guys, so spending a large premium to get the "better" one isn't really a great investment, or a huge difference-maker.

The more I swish the new rules around in my head, the less convinced I am that they're really going to hurt small market teams. Sure it restricts the Pirates from signing 4 1st-round talents, but it also restricts the Red Sox from doing the same. Instead, smaller market teams get more picks, and they won't have to go "over slot" to make them worthwhile players (since the slot numbers are more realistic and presumably fewer top talents will fall and still expect big paydays), giving them an actual advantage over the bigger market clubs. Honestly, I kind of like it.

Of course, as others have pointed out, the amateurs get screwed pretty hard, and that pisses me off (in general I favor more money to amateurs vs. established players, but that's another discussion). I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but my understanding is that amateur drafts in all sports are possibly/probably illegal as currently constituted, since they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement which is collectively bargained by two parties that both have a vested interest in screwing the people covered by the draft.Of course, the NFL's age limit was widely thought to be illegal too, so...

Nov 23, 2011 19:05 PM
rating: 2
 
Brian Cartwright

But if the first team picking gets to spend $11m on their top 10 picks, and the 1st pick wants $10m, then there is no way they can sign a second player to a large bonus. Gerrit Cole might get his, but the Pirates would not be able to get Josh Bell, who would slide even now because he wanted a lot of money to skip college, and now nobody will be able to spend big money on more than one player. Bell would not get signed by any team.

Nov 28, 2011 00:35 AM
rating: 1
 
Schere

I would guess that will mean the #1 pick isn't going to get $10 million.

Nov 28, 2011 12:17 PM
rating: 1
 
gpurcell

At first I thought the CBA was really going to put the screws to the small market teams. Now, I am not so sure. The new CBA gets rid of the supplemental picks which tended to really hurt the worst teams in the league. By virtue of being so bad they tended not to have many good free agents and so the Yankees and Phillies of the world would get multiple picks before the second round came around again.

Take 1996, for example. The Yankees were able to draft Ian Kennedy AND Joba Chamberlain before the Royals got their second pick. The Red Sox got FOUR players before the Royals picked again.

The top of the second round will be true second round topic again. The top of the third round will be true third round talent again.

Nov 23, 2011 19:34 PM
rating: 3
 
BarryR

That's all fine, but the "player has to be there the whole season to get compensation when he leaves" part will really hurt them. In the past, when dumping an unsignable veteran, the small market team had the advantage of the receiving team knowing they could get one or two high draft choices when they didn't resign the acquisition. This made them much more willing to trade multiple prospects, because they were able to, at least partially, replace them. Those trades will certainly get a much smaller yield in the future.

Nov 26, 2011 12:59 PM
rating: 0
 
brucegilsen
(999)

I suspect one impact is that some or even most free agents on poor teams will be traded the winter before they become free agents rather than in late July.

Dec 04, 2011 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
spinkate

So it's going to take longer for the Royals and Pirates to rebuild? I mean, aren't we closing in on 20 yrs already.

Nov 28, 2011 21:16 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (11/23)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article On the Beat: A Team Ef... (11/23)
Next Column >>
Premium Article On the Beat: Still Sab... (12/02)
Next Article >>
Future Shock: Cubs Top... (11/24)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Expert FAAB Review: Week Five
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Junior Circuit Players to...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Eddie Rosario
Prospect Feature
Prospect Profile: Carlos Tocci
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, May 4,...
Rubbing Mud: The Worst Rule In Replay

MORE FROM NOVEMBER 23, 2011
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Bear a Star...
Baseball ProGUESTus: The Best Bush League Ba...
Premium Article On the Beat: A Team Effort in Texas

MORE BY JOHN PERROTTO
2011-12-14 - Premium Article On the Beat: "Fixing" the Phillies
2011-12-08 - Premium Article On the Beat: Bobby's Back
2011-12-02 - Premium Article On the Beat: Still Sabean After All These Ye...
2011-11-23 - On the Beat: What Price Labor Peace?
2011-11-23 - Premium Article On the Beat: A Team Effort in Texas
2011-11-09 - Premium Article On the Beat: Handicapping the Managerial Can...
2011-11-08 - Premium Article On the Beat: The 2011 All-MLB Team
More...

MORE ON THE BEAT
2011-12-14 - Premium Article On the Beat: "Fixing" the Phillies
2011-12-08 - Premium Article On the Beat: Bobby's Back
2011-12-02 - Premium Article On the Beat: Still Sabean After All These Ye...
2011-11-23 - On the Beat: What Price Labor Peace?
2011-11-23 - Premium Article On the Beat: A Team Effort in Texas
2011-11-09 - Premium Article On the Beat: Handicapping the Managerial Can...
2011-11-08 - Premium Article On the Beat: The 2011 All-MLB Team
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2012-01-18 - Premium Article Heartburn Hardball: The Hawk and the Dragon