As expected, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was agreed upon before the deadline last night. As predicted, there will be no international draft.
(There’s always a but, isn’t there?)
In this case, the scuttlebutt on the “but” is higher bonus pools – somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 to $6M per team per year – in exchange for more severe penalties on teams that exceed the limits.
As Doug Gray pointed out over at Redminorleagues.com, this new limit of $150M to $180M is roughly 40-50% of what teams spent during the last full year of International Free Agency (2015-16), including penalties.
In essence, Gray says, the MLBPA gave away $120 to 150M from amateurs to the owners in exchange for not very much; slightly higher luxury tax thresholds, tweaks to the qualifying-offer system.
To me this is same shit, different CBA. The players’ union and the owners continue to negotiate over monies spent on (or to) people not at the table. Last time, it was the minor leaguers. This time it’s the foreign-born players.
Bottom line: the players we know and love to watch play are being attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis. (Translation).
Don’t even go down the path of what this means socioeconomically… in both cases, young men (or teenage boys) are being asked to trade their youth and/or postpone their education in exchange for a pittance and an infinitesimally small chance to make it to the major leagues.
The Americans at least have the threat of going to college; the (mostly) Dominicans and Venezuelans have nothing. And now they have less.
More details on the CBA are forthcoming, but I’m quite confident we’re not going to see anything that will be better for our guys.