Just when we thought it wasn't going to happen, the MLB pulled us back in whether we wanted it or not. We wanted it though. That's right folks! It turns out there's going to be a season after all. This past afternoon on Thursday the 10th of March, the MLB and MLBPA agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement or CBA. Why did they have to agree to a new one? Well, every 5 years, the two sides have to agree on a new set of rules to govern the baseball organization. Ever since 1995, there has been zero issues in regards to completing a CBA in time for the next regular season. Alas, that would not be the case this time.
See, the players were tired of the owners winning every CBA since 1995. In a lot of ways, the owners took advantage of an un-united players union. That would not be the case this time. Instead, the players would be more united than ever and seek to establish a major win for their side. Whether or not either side won in this agreement is beyond the scope of this article. However, the clear winners in this agreement are the fans, who pay their salaries, and the game of baseball. It's America's past-time. You can't tell the history of the U.S. without the game of baseball. Therefore, after multiple weeks of Spring Training were canceled and the first four series were cancelled, there began to be a wave of anger and fear that we might not even have a season, let alone a complete series. Turns out that those fears were for naught. We will have a season. Even better, we will have a complete full season!
What remains the same following the new CBA?
A lot is remaining the same. 26-man rosters are in effect. The games are still 9 innings. Manfred is sadly still the commissioner. Ken Kendrick still owns the Dbacks. Sadly. We will still have arbitration, 6-year service times before player control runs out, and a Rule-5 Draft. Pitchers must still face 3 batters or end an inning before being able to be removed. We will still have Spring Training. Additionally, the schedule will remain the same as it was before where we face mainly opposing teams in our division.
What is different in this CBA?
Do you want to know what has changed? Oh, you do, well it's quite a bit. Let's start off with something easy and very divisive. That is the MLB will officially adopt a Universal DH. This means that the days of pitchers hitting in the MLB are over. The National League will no longer allow pitchers to hit. Some other changes to on-field play are that every double-header will now be two complete games of 9 innings. Plus, in extra innings, there won't be a runner on second to start the inning. One more big news item for future on-field play is this. The MLB and MLBPA will create a committee with an umpire on it as well to decide on changes to on-field play. Once the committee agrees on a change to play, they can let the MLBPA know that it will start a mere 45-days away. Basically, the MLB only has to let the players know it's going to be implementing changes to the play of baseball with a 45-day notice prior to the season. Poor MadBum though.
The biggest issue in this recent round of collective bargaining had to do with the collective bargaining tax or CBT. The CBT acts like a salary cap without a cap. Teams are free to pass through the salary "cap" line, but they must pay a tax in doing so. Last year, the tax line was at 210 million dollars. Only two teams passed that line, the Padres and Dodgers, while 5 others were within 3.4 million dollars of it. Well, that "cap" has risen 9+%. That's right. This upcoming season, the CBT line will be at 230 million dollars. That's going to really help the big-market teams, unfortunately. It will make life harder on teams like the Dbacks unless Ken Kendrick really opens up the purse strings. Over the 5-year period, the CBT will rise from 230 to 244. Of course, Steve Cohen the rich Mets owner who has gone on a spending spree has had a tax named after him. There are four levels to the tax. The first is at 20 million over the threshold. If you pass that, you will see your tax increase. The second is at 40 million over. Pass that and you get even higher tax penalties. If you pass the newly created third line which is 60 million over, you will suffer draft penalties and endure an 80% tax! That's why it's named the Steve Cohen tax since the Mets are already within a few million of being almost 60 million over the 230 tax-line. Imagine having an owner like that Dbacks fans.