On Wednesday night, MLB players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that will be in effect for the next five years. Multiple reports surfaced last night, and many structural agreements of the deal began to trickle down throughout the early morning, Thursday.
The news may come as a welcome surprise to baseball fans that have been following the track of the negotiation process. Just last week, many reporters, including Ken Rosenthal, believed that labor peace was “in jeopardy” as the two sides failed to reach a middle ground on many issues. One of the most important factors of these negotiations was the possible implementation of an international draft. Many international players in MLB voiced their displeasure with such a rule, and Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion, and Gary Sanchez were just a few of the players to take an active role on social media.
Even with a noticeable divide just a week before, the players and owners were able to rally to form a feasible agreement for both sides.
Here’s a quick glance at some of the notable changes in the CBA:
- There will be a new luxury tax threshold. The new tax will take effect for teams with payrolls over $195 million in 2017, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $208 million in 2020, and $210 million in 2021.
- The tax rates will begin at 20% on first-time offenders, 30% for second offenders, and 50% for third time offenders.
- There will still not be an international draft on players attempting to sign from a foreign country. Instead, there will be a $6 million cap on a team’s annual international spending.
- Teams were discussing the possibility of opening rosters up to 26, but the traditional 25-man roster will be kept for the time being.
- Perhaps the biggest news pertains to the free agent market. Starting with the free agent class of 2017, teams will no longer forfeit a first-round draft pick for signing free agents. Instead, the new deal offers two separate options for forfeitures on free agents. A team would lose a third-round pick if they sign a player who rejects a qualifying offer if they are under the luxury tax, and a team over the luxury tax would lose a second and fifth-round draft pick, plus $1 million in international bonus money.
Certainly, there is still a lot to unfold with this deal in the following days. The good news, for now, is that there will be baseball next season. Rest easy, baseball fans.