After almost 48 straight hours of deliberation and with only three to spare, Major League Baseball and the players’ union have announced that they have come to a tentative 5-year extension on their collective bargaining agreement. If an agreement was not reached by 12:01 Thursday morning, players would have been frozen out, halting off season negotiations and the league’s winter meetings, scheduled to start next week.
With this agreement, the league and it’s players’ union will expand upon the last 21 years of peace with one another. The league saw eight stoppages from 1972-95, with the longest lasting for 7 1/2 months, which saw the 1994 World Series being cancelled for the first time since 1904.
The new CBA includes the following:
- Scheduling changes have been discussed, including starting the season a few days later than in the past, as well as scheduling more day games for teams ahead of long flights.
- The luxury-tax threshold will increase to $195M next year, up from $189M in 2016, and then to $197M in 2018, $206M in 2019, $209M in 2020, and $210M in 2021.
- Performance-enhancing drug penalties are expected to become harsher, as numerous players have become vocal about lengthening suspensions for players violating the PED rules.
- The league’s domestic violence policy is expect to change, details have yet to be released.
- The signing of a premium free agent will no longer cost a team a first-round draft pick, which previously went to the player’s former team, although the teams will still receive a pick.
- The international draft proposition was dropped by the owners as part of the agreement, a topic heavily opposed by foreign free agents. The bonus pool was revised, however, instituting instead a hard limit ($5-6M) on what teams can spend on foreign players.
- The revenue-sharing guidelines have been changed, with the exact details yet to be released to the public. Changes to the amateur draft have also been discussed, including draft pick trading.
- There have been preliminary discussions regarding playing regular season games outside of North America as early as 2018. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that he wants to see regular-season games played in London and Mexico.
- The league has outlawed smokeless tobacco for all new players. All active players will be grandfathered in to the current rules.
- It is expected that the active roster size will remain at 25. There were talks of expanding to 26.
There are several more issues that were discussed between the owners and the players’ union that will not be known to the public for some time, such as possible future expansion and ways to increase pace of games.