Some thoughts on the new CBA

Earlier this week MLB owners reached an agreement with the MLBPA on a new collective bargaining agreement. There was never any doubt as to whether it would get finished, which is nice considering the work stoppages in the NHL in recent years, NBA’s current lockout resulting in many missed games (maybe an entire season) and even NFL’s long lockout this year. I expected only slight changes to the last CBA, but they didn’t do that at all. It’s an entirely new CBA, which is kind of impressive when you consider the amout of time it took to get it done.

Many people have weighed on how they thought this was going to affect MLB or their favorite teams, but the truth is that we don’t really know yet. We can take them point by point and see how it may affect the Cubs to get a better idea. It’s not like the overall CBA is helpful to one type of team and hurtful to another. There are many parts to it and some will be beneficial while others will create a disadvantage.

Type A’s, B’s, and the Elias system will be eliminated, no relievers can steal another team’s draft pick and only players who are with a team for a full season are eligible for draft pick compensation.

There’s really more than one topic here, but it’s easy enough to combine these. The Elias system was a joke. Non-ace relievers would often be type A free agents resulting in teams losing a 1st round draft pick if they signed him. That’s nonsense and I’m glad this is gone. It’s equally nice that teams can no longer acquire a player at the trade deadline who will be a type A or type B free agent and be eligible to receive compensation.

I don’t think too many people have issues with these changes. I think most fans are in agreement that these are good decisions.

In order to receive compensation you have to offer a one-year guaranteed contract that at least matches what the top 125 players were paid, on average, the previous season. The quiet period (period in which teams had exclusive negotiating rights to their own free agents) was reduced from 10 days to 5. This guaranteed offer must be made within those 5 days and the player has 7 days to accept or decline.

That is going to be a sizable guaranteed contract that teams have to offer in order to receive compensation. I quickly looked through each team’s 2011 player salaries and counted 104 players who made at least $8 million. Drop that to $7 million and there are over 125 players. I’m way too lazy to calculate the average of the top 125, but would guess it’s at least $10 million last season. That’s a huge change. MLB is speeding things up by reducing the quiet period and forcing players to accept or decline arbitration. These are both good things in my opinion.

If a team signs a guy who was offered this guaranteed contract the signing team gives up its first round draft pick unless it’s a top 10 pick. In previous years, the top 15 picks were protected so that has been lowered. They would then give up their 2nd round pick if it’s a protected pick and the other team also gets a compensatory pick.

There are still ways for teams to collect draft picks as they have in the past, but it’s going to be much more difficult. It’s also going to require a large commitment from the team. The difference is that teams aren’t going to collect guys making little money they think can bring them a draft pick because they’d have to offer that player a large amount of money.

I have no problems at all regarding draft pick compensation changes. I think most, if not all of them, are good for the game.

Playoffs expansion and the Astros to the AL West

I really don’t have much of an opinion on playoff expansion. I am glad to see that the leagues will be evened out giving teams a more equal chance of reaching the postseason.

Draft spending limitations

This is the big change. In years past there was no maximum amount of money a team could spend in the draft or on international free agents. Beginning next year there are. A team picking first will get roughly $11.5 million to spend on its first ten rounds. The team picking last will have about $4.5 million. After round 10 teams can spend more freely, but not as they could in the past. Any signing bonus over $100,000 is subject to the same penalties as the first ten rounds. Those penalties are severe.

If a team goes just 5% over their slot recommendation, they pay a 75% tax. If they go over by 5-10% they pay the same 75% tax, but lose next year’s first round pick. If a team goes 10-15% over, they pay 100% tax and lose their first and second round picks the following year. If a team exceeds the recommendation by more than 15% they pay the same 100% tax, but lose first rounders the next two years. International free agents are similar.

This is the one that people have been trying to figure out if it’s good or bad for their favorite team. I can’t answer that, but I do know that the Strasburg contracts are a thing of the past. The signing bonuses will be brought down because the penalties are too severe. Many people have argued that this may cause two sport stars to play football instead. I don’t really believe this. Take an 18-year old out of high school and shove a $3 million check in front of his face, why is he less likely to accept that and go to college to play football than he would be if its a $7 million check?

This just doesn’t make sense to me. The difference between $3 million and $7 million for an 18-year old kid isn’t all that much. He still has the very same decision to make: go to college and potentially earn a lot more in the NFL or take that guaranteed money, play baseball and be set for life. The risks are still the same too: take the money and be set for life or play college football and risk injury or never getting that kind of money later on. I don’t believe this is going to have the impact that some others think. I believe this will have very little impact on an 18-year old’s decision. The only reason it seems like it does now is because they’ve been wanting as much as they can get. The difference is that the most they can get has been lowered.

I think much about nothing is being made about two-sport stars. I’d also challenge someone to name the two-sport stars who have starred at the MLB level. Here’s a list courtesy of Wikipedia


  • Frank Baumholtz – Played in the BAA for 2 seasons with the Cleveland Rebels.
  • Jamie Burke – Current Washington Nationals catcher, was a kicker on Oregon State’s football team
  • Gene Conley – Played in the NBA with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.
  • Chuck Connors – Played basketball for the Boston Celtics in 1946 and got drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1952.
  • Carl Crawford – was offered scholarships to play American football for the University of Nebraska and basketball before concentrating on baseball.[31]
  • Alvin Dark – played college football at LSU and Southwestern Louisiana Institute
  • Mark DeRosa – Played quarterback at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Josh Fields– Played quarterback at Oklahoma State.
  • Bob Gibson – Played on the Harlem Globetrotters from 1957–1958.
  • Kirk Gibson – 1978 College Football All-America Team wide receiver; drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the 7th round of the 1979 NFL draft.
  • Tom Glavine – Was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL.
  • Dick Groat – Played for the Fort Wayne Pistons in the NBA in 1952.
  • Tony Gwynn – A former basketball stand-out who was drafted by both the San Diego Clippers and San Diego Padres on the same day.
  • Steve Hamilton – Played in the NBA for the Minneapolis Lakers.
  • Todd Helton – Played quarterback at the University of Tennessee
  • Mark Hendrickson – Played four seasons in the NBA.
  • Bo Jackson – won the Heisman Trophy, and was an all-pro in the National Football League and also played on a semi-pro basketball team in Los Angeles before returning to baseball.
  • Fergie Jenkins – Played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • Brian Jordan – Was a defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Kenny Lofton – Played basketball at the University of Arizona.
  • Joe Maddon – Played football and baseball at Lafayette College.
  • Joe Mauer – Played quarterback, point guard, and catcher in high school, and was named USA Today High School Player of the Year, twice: in 2000 for football and 2001 for baseball.
  • Nyjer Morgan – Besides playing in the MLB, he played hockey and reached the Major Junior level with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League in 1999–2000
  • Curtis Pride – Played for the U.S.A. FIFA soccer team in China and played point guard at William & Mary.
  • Ron Reed – Played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons.
  • Dave Ricketts – Also played in the MLB and played basketball with his brother at Duquesne University.
  • Dick Ricketts – Played for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Cincinnati Royals, and multiple other teams.
  • Robin Roberts – Was a pitcher in the MLB and played college basketball for Michigan State University
  • Jackie Robinson – played professional football in the PCPFL, and ran track at UCLA.
  • Jeff Samardzija – Played wide receiver at Notre Dame.
  • Ryne Sandberg – Was offered a football scholarship from the Washington State Cougars football team to play quarterback.
  • Tim Stoddard – Member of the 1973–1974 N.C. State Wolfpack NCAA Basketball Championship team.
  • Herb Washington – a former college sprinter at Michigan State University
  • Dave Winfield – was drafted by four professional teams in three different sports – basketball, baseball and American football, before deciding to concentrate on his baseball career.[31]
  • John Smoltz – Played in the South Georgia Classic golf tournament on the Nationwide Tour and finished last with +15.

Almost all of these players were drafted when signing bonuses were kept in check. Ths just isn’t an issue.

The impact on the Cubs will be felt in the immediate future. Ricketts had planned to invest heavily in player development, but that’s not going to happen. The Cubs will instead invest a few million more in their MLB roster. When they do build a quality farm system, as a contender they’d be more likely to throw a few million more into the MLB team than investing it in player development. At this point it will have little impact. The Cubs won’t be able to rebuild as quickly as they wanted to, which kind of sucks, but you know who else won’t be able to rebuild as quickly? The small market teams who are now going to be forced to spend more on free agents if they want to contend.

International free agency

As for international free agents, teams have the same amount of money to spend in 2012 and 2013, but after that the amount a team has to spend is determined by their winning percentage. A lower winning percentage would mean you can spend more. If a team goes 5% over their allowed money, they pay a 75% tax. If they go 5-10% over they pay the 75% tax and they are unable to signing more than one player to a bonus more than $500,000 in the next year. If they go 10-15% over they pay a 100% tax and can’t sign a player for more than $500,000. At 15% or more over the limit they pay 100% tax and cannot spend $250,000 on any international free agent the next year.

This has a similar impact on the Cubs in that it will be more difficult to rebuild quickly, but in the long run it shouldn’t have much affect.

If a worldwide draft is not in place by 2015 the penalties will be more severe. I hate the idea of a worldwide draft and hope it never happens. It’s one thing to force American born players into indentured servitude, but quite another to force foreign born players into it. It’s just bullshit.

With the next international free agenting signing period all teams will have $2.9 million to spend and by 2014 it will range from $1.8 million and $5 million.

Cubans 23 and under will count as international free agents. Japanese players do not count. Look for teams like the Cubs to exploit that and spend more money in Japan in the coming years.


The top 22% of players with between 2 and 3 years of MLB service time now qualify as Super-Two and are eligible for arbitration. That’s up from 17%. This will have no immediate impact on the Cubs. Starlin Castro was all but assured of already being a Super-Two after this season so this doesn’t change that.

Teams now have only until December 2nd to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.

HGH Testing

Players won’t be tested during the season without suspicion and based on comments from people on this site I take that to mean it’s highly unlikely any non-retarded player will be caught using HGH. The tests also may not even be reliable.


This is expanding to include fair/foul balls as well as trapped catches. I think every person would agree this is a progress.


MLB rosters will expand to 26 for some doubleheaders and I still don’t know what “some” doubleheaders mean. Why not all doubleheaders?

League minimum increases to $480,000.


I actually like a lot of the new CBA and dislike some of it. I dislike how the MLBPA continues to shit on the young players so they can gain a few extra bucks, but we knew that was going to happen and it’s going to continue to happen. I do like the changes to arbitration, draft pick compensation and I don’t believe the draft pick or intenrational free agent signing limitations are going to have much affect on the Cubs in the long run. I believe those limitations are going to hurt most the smaller market teams that rely on the draft in ways that large market teams do not. The Rays had nearly twice as many top 5 round picks as the Yankees over the last 5 or 6 years. That won’t happen and that’s a good thing. The Rays won’t be able to collect 10 of the first 60 picks in a draft again. I’d like to think the only people who don’t see that as a good thing are Rays fans.

I don’t really care about the HGH testing. Nobody has shown any evidence that HGH improves performance so why an MLB player would be taking the shit is beyond me. That person deserves to get busted for being stupid so I just don’t care.


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