What did we learn from the release of Alex Rodriguez's previously confidential arbitration award?
On Monday, January 13, Alex Rodriguez filed suit against Major League Baseball, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association. After a short oral argument in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge William H. Pauley III ordered that A-Rod’s attorneys were required to submit an unredacted and complete version of the previously confidential arbitration award with their filing.
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Going public won't help Alex Rodriguez win his case.
On Wednesday, Alex Rodriguez reportedly stormed out of his disciplinary hearing and made various pronouncements to the media, most notably during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN and the YES Network. Under normal circumstances, we could see this as his true emotional response to the negative ruling he’d just received (that Commissioner Selig would not be required to testify in the case). But because everything we’ve seen thus far from A-Rod and his team has been so orchestrated, I can interpret this only as a well-rehearsed and well-scheduled event like all of the rest.
Adapting the rules governing free agency might seem like sound policy, but it comes with considerable risk.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
The new CBA includes some changes to the way draft-pick compensation for departed free agents works. Joe Sheehan advised against altering the old system in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Prospectus Today" column on February 17, 2009.
Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
With the announcement of the MLBPA head's timetable for retirement, it's important to recap the talent he's brought to his duties.
There are jobs that demand of the person filling them that they be able to forgo popularity to do them well. No one likes public defenders. No one likes tax auditors. And no one likes the men who have chosen to represent baseball players as if they were a group of laborers in an industry long dominated by a paternalistic management and covered by an unquestioning press largely bought and paid for by the same.
The legal setback for MLBAM over the use of player names in fantasy sports could lead to a Supreme Court showdown.
In baseball parlance, MLB Advanced Media is in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in their legal case with CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the fantasy sports company that has been fighting for the rights to use player names in conjunction with their statistics without paying a fee to MLBAM for licensing. On Tuesday, October 16th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis ruled 2-1 upheld a lower court decision in favor of CBC, based on First Amendment rights, delivering yet another blow to MLBAM's legal case. "The decision is a big win for us. It is a big win for the fantasy sports industry, as well as entrepreneurs of the World," said CDM Fantasy Sports' Vice President Charlie Wiegert. "It's a win for all the underdogs. All the Davids who have a war with a Goliaths."
Maury has a guide to the recent court ruling in the CBC case concerning the rights to MLB player names and statistics.
In St. Louis on Tuesday--4 weeks before trial was set to begin on Sept. 5th--United States District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler upheld the argument by CBC Marketing, Inc. that MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) could not force businesses to pay for statistics used in the online sports fantasy industry. Judge Melder ordered that CBC's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted and that the MLBPA and the MLBAM not interfere with CBC's fantasy games.
The Commissioner proposed that punishments increase to 50 games, 100 games, and a lifetime ban for first, second and third offenses from the previous schedule of 10 games, 30 games, 60 games, and one year for first, second, third, and fourth offenses.
Digging into the BP vault, here's Doug Pappas' Q&A on MLB's drug-testing and steroids policies (originally ran March 4, 2004).
Q. Where can I find a copy of MLB's drug testing rules?
A. They're part of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, set forth as Attachment 18 to the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The CBA, in .pdf format, can be downloaded here.
Rather than just adding another thousand-or-so words to the million which have been written this week about Alex Rodriguez' negotiations with the Boston Red Sox, the Texas Rangers, the MLBPA, Scott Boras, Bud Selig, and a bunch of angry Red Sox fans, I'll focus on a few specific issues which often seem to be misunderstood.
Why is the MLBPA involved?
To protect its rights under the CBA. Under the CBA, the union negotiates virtually all terms and conditions of employment on behalf of the players. Individual players may only negotiate (1) a salary above the minimum, and (2) special terms which actually or potentially provide additional benefits to the player. Any term inconsistent with these provisions is void even if the club and player agree to it, unless the MLBPA approves the term. Here are the key provisions of the CBA:
Whenever "competitive balance" is debated, the debaters inevitably turn to published information about team payrolls to support their positions. This sounds straightforward. Unfortunately, "team payroll" is a fluid concept. The four most widely reported measures each use different methods and can lead to different conclusions.
Whenever "competitive balance" is debated, the debaters inevitably turn to published information about team payrolls to support their positions. This sounds straightforward... but unfortunately, "team payroll" is a fluid concept. The four most widely reported measures each use different methods and can lead to different conclusions.
The four measures are (1) the Opening Day payrolls reported by the AP and USA Today a week or so into the season; (2) the August 31 payrolls reported by MLB after the season; (3) the August 31 average team salaries reported by the MLBPA after the season; and (4) the luxury tax payrolls reported by MLB after the season.
The first three have a lot in common. Each begins with the salary of every player on a club's 25-man roster, or its major league disabled list, as of the stated date. Each computes each player's base salary in the same way: the actual amount he is paid during the season, plus a pro-rated share of his signing bonus and the discounted present value of any part of his salary which is deferred to a future year. Each has a common flaw: by taking a snapshot of the roster as of a specific date, it ignores the effect of midseason player moves.
The MLBPA's formula has a more serious flaw which renders it essentially useless for meaningful team-to-team comparison. Its averaging method involves dividing the club's total payroll by the number of players on its roster-plus-DL. However, the size of the disabled list varies widely from team to team. In 2002 just 26 players were used to compute the Kansas City and Oakland averages, while San Diego's average was based on a 36-man roster. Thus while the August 31 payrolls for Oakland and San Diego were virtually identical, Oakland's reported average was $450,000 higher. Given the other information available, that's an unacceptable variance.
Here are each club's 2002 payrolls as computed by the three other methods: