The new CBA
I have had a bunch of requests to explain the new CBA and give my thoughts about the agreement. I can outline the highlights as they have been presented but it will take some time to figure out what impact they will have on the Mariners. Look for more from me on this next week.
First and foremost it should not go overlooked or be underestimated in any way, shape or form the importance that this deal got done without any sort of work stoppage. In these deals there is give and take, and while I think there was a big winner in this, again, I will hold off on solidifying that decision until I have more practical information about about how these new rules could play out.
As I tweeted (and if you don’t follow me, you should @shannondrayer ) when the agreement was released, I am very concerned about MLB capping the spending before penalties are incurred on international signings. The Mariners were at the forefront of utilizing international scouting and signings. The playing field that the Mariners were at the top of as a result of hard work and commitment has now been leveled. I don’t quite understand that. This was something a mid-market team could do to make itself more competitive. I need answers on this one.
While the international signings budgets were a surprise, the amateur draft budgets were not. One of the most important issues in getting this deal done was coming to some sort of agreement on hard slotting in the amateur draft. The players did not want it, the owners did. While there is not hard slotting, teams will be given a non-negotiable bonus budget and there will be heavy penalties, both monetary and draft pick, for going over.
From the CBA:
Clubs that exceed their Signing Bonus Pools will be subject to penalties as follows:
Excess of Pool Penalty (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)
â€¢ 0-5% 75% tax on overage
â€¢ 5-10% 75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
â€¢ 10-15% 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
â€¢ 15%+ 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts
These are tough penalties. While this does not constitute hard slotting it would seem that it will curtail some of the more outrageous signing bonuses we have seen. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
Will teams spread out their budget and in turn will we see a lower threshold for amateur signings? Will it, as this Baseball America article suggests, force more high school players to college? And how will the goofy Signing Bonus Pool lottery work (sorry, you are going to have to read up on that one elsewhere)? It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out.
The signing deadline has also been moved up to a date between July 12 and July 18 depending on the All-Star Game. I like this. Get the guys signed and into the system and on the field sooner.
Speaking of the All-Star Game … It was also agreed that players must participate in the game unless they are injured or are excused by the Office of the Commissioner. If the All-Star Game is going to continue to determine home field advantage for the World Series, I think this is important.
We have been hearing about expanded playoffs and Houston to the AL West. Both were included in the agreement. I do not have strong feelings about Houston coming to the division. I think it is hard to argue with the idea of having balanced leagues and this makes sense.
I have stated my feelings about expanded playoffs in the past and I stick by them. I hate it. Yes, it most likely will benefit the Mariners at some point but I still don’t like the idea of having more teams in the postseason even if it is for just one game. I feel it devalues the regular season’s 162 games, which I think is one of the beautiful things about this game.
Finally, there are increases in salaries, the expanding of “super-two” arbitration eligible players, changes to the Competitive Balance Tax, a social media policy, a tobacco policy that I believe does not quite go far enough, expansion of instant replay to include fair/foul and trapped ball plays and the introduction of HGH testing all included in the new contract.
Again, it is going to take time to sort all of this out and look for more from me early next week.