After lots of deliberation and worries of a possible lockout, the MLB Player’s Association and the owners finally came together on Wednesday and agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The changes in the new CBA are mostly about finances, and are honestly a little too complicated to dive into right now. A lot of the new terms are focused on beginning to level the playing field between the small-market and big-market teams, including the new competitive balance tax, which will essentially tax teams as their payroll rises over the luxury tax number.
The new luxury tax number for 2017 will be $195 million, and it will rise every year.
Luxury tax thresholds in the new labor deal: $195 million in 2017, then $197M, $206M, $208M and $210M— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 1, 2016
With the Marlins ranking 25th in baseball with a current payroll of about $85.5 million, the competitive balance tax shouldn’t come into play for the them any time soon. However, the tax may help teams with smaller payrolls like the Marlins by discouraging big-market teams from going well over the luxury tax and signing that extra big-money free agent. That free agent now has a slightly better chance of signing with a team with a lower payroll.
Another aspect that could pertain to the Marlins is the new rule on draft pick compensation as it pertains to players who were given a qualifying offer. The current system forces a team that signs a free agent who was previously given a qualifying offer to give up a first round draft pick. That rule significantly hinders the Marlins from signing a large number of free agents because their weak farm system makes them very hesitant to give up a first round pick.
The new CBA states that if a team is over a certain payroll number, they will lose a second and fifth round pick, and if they are under the number, they will only have to concede a third round pick. The Marlins will most likely end up under that payroll number, and only having to give up a third round pick makes it much more likely that they pursue some big-name free agents starting next offseason. Plus, with starting pitchers who will surely receive a qualifying offer like Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, Yu Darvish, Marco Estrada and others becoming free agents after the 2017 season, the Marlins will have a much better chance of upgrading their rotation.
Although the financial side of things seems like it could take up the entire agreement, there were plenty of other non-monetary changes in the new CBA, including a big one for Miami.
Yes, the outcome of the MLB All-Star Game will no longer determine home-field advantage for the World Series. That’s big news for baseball in general, but also big news for the Marlins with the all-star game scheduled to come to Marlins Park for the first time in 2017. The game will still be played, but it will no longer count for anything that is important to the actual season.
Per AP, Instead of home-field advantage, the winners of the All-Star Game will have a pool of money as the incentive to win the game.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 1, 2016
The Home Run Derby and even the Celebrity Softball Game are both beloved events that will be heavily attended at the all-star game festivities in Miami, but people may start to lose interest in the actual game itself because it no longer has much meaning to the fans. I wouldn’t expect an attendance drop at the all-star game that would impact Miami this season, but the lack of meaning could mean a drop in attendance or viewership in the coming years. Marlins Park will be the site of the first non-meaningful MLB All-Star Game since 2002, so all eyes will be on Miami in mid-July.
Moving on from the Marlins to the entire league, there are a few other interesting additions to the new CBA that will come into play over the next few seasons.
Heard 1 other interesting CBA detail: new MLB players will be banned from using smokeless tobacco, those already playing grandfathered in— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 1, 2016
The new minimum salary will be raised from $507,500 to $535,000 in 2017, $545,000 in 2018, $555,000 in 2019, per AP.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 1, 2016
The #MLB season will start five days earlier beginning in 2018,providing 5 more off-days per year,giving players 5 more days of service time— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 1, 2016
. @MLB DL reduction from 15 days to 10 will result in more DL trips for starting pitchers; with off day/rotation reshuffle, that’s 1 start.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 1, 2016
If you have any questions about the new MLB CBA that weren’t answered here (and I know you do), you can check out this piece from SB Nation MLB, or you can post your questions in the comments and I will try my very best to answer them.