It was announced late Wednesday that Major League Baseball and the Players Union have agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Amid several rumors and speculations leading up to the final product, it remains mostly in tact from the previous CBA.
Some changes of note include the increasing of the Luxury cap and a restructure in the penalties for going over the cap. Beginning in 2017, teams will begin paying luxury taxes on payrolls over $195 million. A number that certainly should not have any impact on the 2017 Royals.
They have also placed a cap on the amount teams can spend on international spending at $6 million. ($5 million being reported by some sources). While the Royals have been active in the international market in the past, they have never been lavish spenders, so this may actually be to their benefit, if anything.
With the Royals having a number of free agents coming up at the conclusion of the 2017 season, one particular area of interest was the topic of draft pick compensation when free agent players refuse the qualifying offer. Previously, teams were forced to surrender a first round draft pick (unless they held a Top 10 pick) should they sign a free agent that had declined a qualifying offer with their previous team. This has changed.
If a team is under the luxury tax threshold, they will be forced to surrender a 3rd round pick should they sign a free agent player who refused his previous clubs qualifying offer. If a club is over the luxury tax threshold, they will be forced to surrender a 2nd and 5th round pick, as well as $1 million in international bonus money used for signing international players not subject to the MLB draft.
Teams losing free agents that they have offered the qualifying offer to will now receive a draft pick determined by the size of the contract that free agent player ends up signing. If over $50 million, then the team will receive an extra selection after the first round of the draft. If under $50 million, then the club receives a draft pick after the competitive balance Round B in the draft.
If anything, this mostly helps the Royals in that they will be free to offer a qualifying offer to more players in the future without the risk of them possibly accepting it. This season for example, Edinson Volquez and Kendrys Morales may have been candidates for a QO had teams not had to worry about surrendering a first round pick to sign them. This made it likely should the Royals have offered, they would have accepted.
As most know, a large number of Royals are set to become free agents. This means the Royals could be looking at qualifying offers to Lorenzo Cain, Moose, Eric Hosmer, and Wade Davis.
There will be no changes to 25 man rosters or 40 man rosters in September. There had been some talk of increasing the number to 26 for the regular season and possibly restricting the 40 man in September due to problems with pace of play causing games to be longer than in the past. This is mostly due to the higher usage of bullpen arms and the time it takes between pitching changes. Teams have begun to strategically use their bullpen arms, which in turn causes more of them to be used. It is a little surprising they did not address this in the new CBA as pace of play was emphasized by MLB the last several years.
Also added is a smokeless tobacco ban, to any player who has not spent at least one day in the big leagues. Essentially, current and still-playing former Major Leaguers have been grandfathered in.
One last notable change is the All-Star game will no longer determine home field advantage in the World Series. This is most likely due to the fact it was unfair to the National League with the Royals providing such dominant talent to the Mid-Summer Classic…
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