Like reader Dark-Frontier said, “No different than procrastinating on homework, it always gets done eventually.” That “gets done” is Major League Baseball’s newest collective bargaining agreement, which the owners and Players Association (MLBPA) agreed to on Wednesday, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. The new deal was approved hours before the previous CBA was set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on December 1, and will extend for five years.
The new CBA came together rather quickly. Just a week ago, few details had emerged on the negotiations between the two sides, which can sometimes be hotly contested. However, as we estimated earlier this month, there would be no love lost between the owners and players with so much money at stake. The owners even threatened to lock out the players and cancel the Winter Meetings if talks did not progress, but all those rumors are now moot.
As many expected, not much will change in the new CBA. Talks of a 26th roster spot fell by the wayside as the owners and players decided to keep rosters at 25. A rumored constriction on September’s roster expansion was also just hearsay. The international draft, once a sticking point for owners, will not happen. Instead, international free agent signings will be capped in the neighborhood of $5-6 million per year, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Heyman also reported a couple other details of the new CBA, including an expanded luxury tax on teams that go way over the threshold (looking at you, Yankees and Dodgers). The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported that the tax could go as high as 60-70 percent on overages. Sherman also reported that the luxury tax will undergo modest increases over the life of the deal, up to $215 million in its final year. The threshold for 2017 will be $195 million, meaning the Detroit Tigers are still currently over the limit.
The biggest changes in this new CBA appear to be surrounding draft pick compensation for free agents, another hot button topic leading up to the December 1 deadline. Rosenthal reports that the topic is “still being discussed,” while Heyman says that it will involve picks later than the first round. Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi echoed Heyman’s report, saying that teams “will no longer forfeit [a] first round pick to sign free agents.”
The dampened changes to this new CBA don’t affect the Tigers much, but the slight bump in the luxury tax threshold could potentially help them avoid any overages in 2017. MLB Trade Rumors and Roster Resource project that the Tigers already have $198 million committed to their payroll for 2017, but this does not include minimum salaries for players who have not yet reached arbitration. Player benefits also factor into the luxury tax calcuation — our own Patrick OKennedy has estimated that this runs about $14 million per year — so the Tigers will need to cut roughly $15 million in salary if they want to slide underneath the luxury tax threshold in 2017.
While some were hoping for bigger changes in this new CBA, the two sides were not likely to budge much. New events like an international draft or elimination of draft pick compensation for free agents would be difficult to implement, and with MLB currently making money hand over fist, neither side was likely to rock the boat.
Now we just wait for the chaos that is the MLB Winter Meetings.