With details about the new collective bargaining coming out now (just ahead of the National League MVP announcement, by the way, because that’s just how Bud Selig rolls), I’ll be spending the holiday boning up on the changes and, come Monday, you can expect a lot of posts about how the new agreement will affect baseball and the Yankees in general, but for today, the short version is: it sucks. Let’s count the ways:
- The biggest changes are to the treatment of amateur players, and the top line analysis here is that I felt like vomiting as these details were released. They’re that bad.
- For all the union’s talk about viewing hard-slotting as a salary cap, they basically just agreed to hard slotting. The so-called tax on over-slot spending appears, at first glance, to be so punitive and kicks in at such a low level that, for all intents and purposes, teams are almost never going to go over slot.
- Spending on international free agents will be capped at $2.9 million, which is an absurdly low amount.
- Draft picks will only be allowed to sign minor league deals, and teams will apparently be prohibited from signing them to MLB deals. On the plus side, this is an area where I think draft eligible prospects might actually have grounds to sue MLB, but even then I don’t think it will have much of an affect.
- In a paean to small markets, the ten lowest revenue teams will get extra draft picks each year. Well, six of them will, and they’ll be selected by a lottery. No really, I’m not making this up, this is the boondoggle Bud Selig has turned the draft into.
There’s some other details, but these are the big ones that stuck out to me. Suffice it to say, this is a truly terrible deal, basically the worst case scenario and then some. It’s a horrible deal for amateur players, and will certainly push a large amount of them to college, and a fairly substantial number of young athletes to other sports altogether. In Latin America, the incentive for MLB teams to invest in developing new talent is gone, and you can expect a noticeable drop off in the talent level coming from that avenue, probably pretty soon.
The MLBPA has sold out amateurs, full stop. The assumption, of course, is that they’ll be able to claw a lot of that bonus money back in the form of increased major league salaries, but they’re in for a rude awakening. Once you get past the money paid out to the biggest prospects, the total amount of draft spending just isn’t very high, and absent a hard salary floor that money simply isn’t going to flow back into major league salaries. Even if a handful of teams do reallocate the money in that direction, most owners will simply pocket the money rather than give it to a utility player or middle reliever.
On a micro level, this deal is a huge win for the Yankees. The new rules will put a premium on being able to acquire quality major league talent, and no one can do that like the Yankees. Amateur spending is an area where smaller market teams can outspend the big boys while, in nominal dollars, still not spending very much, and that lone advantage is gone now. The Rays seem to be particularly screwed, as I just can’t see how they’re going to continue to acquire talent, short of a massive increase in ticket sales in the near term.
As I said, I’ll have much more after the holiday weekend, but for now you’ll have to excuse me. Bud Selig just said “competitive balance” again, and that is officially my stomach’s breaking point. Continue reading The new CBA is terrible