The 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement

The 5 things you need to know with the 2016-17 MLB CBA.

  1. The new DL rules.
  2. New World Series home field advantage.
  3. The season is longer.
  4. Qualifying offer compensation.
  5. International free agency.


1. The DL is shorter.

Under the previous rules players placed on the DL were required to miss 15 calendar days before returning to the field. However both sides agreed that shortening the number from 15 to 10 would offer a smoother process for teams when dealing with player injuries. This is a smart move by the game to effectively fix one of the minor problems in the game for many years now.

2. Home field advantage will be determined by the best regular season record.

Bud Selig, the then commissioner of baseball, was public enemy number for the 2002 All Star Game tie in Milwaukee’s version of the midsummer classic. Unfortunately he didn’t take the scrutiny too kindly. And in a rash turn of events he created a mandate that would never allow for the exhibition game to end in a tie again. Thus the winning team having the World Series advantage was born.

13 World Series later we have corrected the wrong. Now the ever minor advantage of home field in the game of baseball will be given to the team with the better record throughout the 162 game season.

3. The season is now 4 days longer.

No, I’m not talking about games here but instead total days. Which means that the players will get nearly an additional off day (in theory) every month.

This is a great thing. The season will end at the end of September still but start four days earlier and shorten the already too long Spring Training. It may not be noticeable for us fans but I guarantee the players are going to enjoy their 4 extra days of “vacation” throughout the season.

4. Qualifying offer compensation has become more confusing (and less small market friendly)

My goal is to simplify here. Previously, if a player’s contract expired his previous team could extend a qualifying offer (a one-year deal with the monetary value equivalent to a top-125 player salary.) If a player turned down the offer and signed with another team, that team then had to forfeit their first round pick in the next draft. It was an effective system to benefit small market teams that couldn’t afford their young stars.

There were problems with the system though. Teams began to see the value of extending QO’s to middle-tier players in order to receive a valuable first round pick for a non-superstar talent. But when the likes of Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales turned down these offers and saw that they had no bidders because of the expensive first round tag attached to them, issues arose. Players, in search of maximizing their paychecks throughout their union, demanded an amendment to the previous setup.

The new changes were agreed upon.

  1. A player must sign a $50 million deal in order for any compensation to be given. If the deal is below $50 no copensation will be given.
  2. If the team that signs the player (assuming rule #1 is true) is under the luxury tax ($189 million) then they will relinquish a 3rd round draft pick.
  3. If the team that signs the player (assuming rule #1 is true) is over the luxury tax they will give the compensation of a 2nd round and 5th round draft pick.

Quick note: Only 4 teams exceeded the luxury tax this past season.

5. International free agency just got weird.

Previously, teams were given pools of money to spend towards international free agency. These pools were essentially soft caps. If a team wanted to sign a player that exceeded this amount of allotted money, they would pay the relatively minor financial penalties and sign the player to a market-competitive deal. These restrictions were only in place for players 23 and younger or who hadn’t played five consecutive seasons with their current club.

Now the young international players find themselves is a conundrum. Each team now has a $6 million hard cap for their international spending for players 25 years or younger. This means that we’ll see even less young international talent than we already do in the future game. So the likes of the 22-year old Japanese Babe Ruth (Shohei Otani) will either take a 3,000% pay cut from the projected $200 million contract OR will have to wait 2 more years before playing in the world’s greatest league. It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone that isn’t one of the 30 billionaires that own a major league baseball team.

The biggest takeaway here is that we will have strike-free baseball through 2022 now. And given its’ past *cough* 1994, this isn’t something just take for granted. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to ask me. I’d be delighted to answer anything to the best of my knowledge. Thanks for reading!