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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

New MLB CBA Summary Posted

MLB has released a PDF summary of their new CBA. Many of the points have been discussed elsewhere, including especially the creation of a second Wild Card per league, and the eventual migration of the Astros into the AL West in 2013. One thing that I found of particular interest to Dodger fans is this graf on page 4 (page 6 as printed) in section VI(a):
The Debt Service Rule will be maintained, but the default EBITDA multiplier has been lowered from ten to eight, and from fifteen to twelve for Clubs incurring stadium-related debt in the first ten years of a new or renovated stadium.
If I read this correctly, this implies that Frank McCourt's tumultuous ownership has left a lasting impression on the other owners. While they aren't willing to go whole hog and totally end heavily leveraged ownership regimes (recall that Jim Crane and his bid for the Astros is supposed to be one such), they have gotten substantially more conservative in what they consider a good owner.

MSTI has a much longer review of most of the rest of the moving parts of the contract, while Al Yellon at sbnbaseball reviews the changes to video replay, which I see as not yet far enough but a good step in the right direction.

Update: Deadspin explains why the changes designed to increase competitive balance actually work to kill it instead.

At first, you see a firm slotting system in which a player's position in the draft order almost entirely dictates his signing bonus, and you think this is good news for small-market teams: money won't run the draft anymore. But small-market teams, like the Pirates, Rays, Royals, and Indians, were some of the ones exploiting the old loose slotting setup, while the Mets and other lumbering leviathans stuck to the unenforced rules.


So MLB offered a gesture out of pity to small-market teams. Per Jeff Passan: "There will be six draft picks immediately after the first round given out via lottery to teams with 10 lowest revenues, 10 smallest markets." But how much can one pick each year in between picks #31-#40 really do? Unlike other years, where teams might find top-ten talents passed over for cash reasons in that window, now they'll find only the 31st through 40th most talented players in the nation. That's not much guarantee of success.

Matthew Pouliot at NBC Sports observes that the CBA will result in more money for mediocrities and less for amateur talent, further straining the idea that this will help competitive balance. This is a deal that helps the union but not the game.

Update 2: Scott Boras has come out squarely against the draft rules changes.

"This will hurt all of baseball," Boras told USA TODAY in a telephone interview. "This was not good for the game at all. There have to be some amendments to it because this dramatically impacts the game. It goes against the revenue sharing concept. This dramatically affects parity. That concept is gone. A teams' chance to dramatically improve has been dramatically reduced.
Update 3: SB Nation's Wendy Thurm chimes in. Behind the pay wall at ESPN, Keith Law opines that this is a bad deal for baseball.

Update 4: Jim Callis of Baseball America forwards a scenario wherein a drafting team doesn't sign a first-rounder, spends the money on lower-level draftees, and then gets back the first round pick and additional bonus space in the next year's draft. Sorta sneaky, but it doesn't help that much because it's only good for first-rounders.

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