MLB Players and Owners Reach New Collective Bargaining Agreement

An article by posted on November 17, 2011

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the players and owners have come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement. The new deal is expected to be announced on Monday.

Original Post 1:00 PM

Over the past couple of weeks, I have heard some of the news that has surfaced from the MLB labor negotiations, but I didn’t hear many of the details. Thankfully, my roommate shed the light and told me exactly what is being discussed in these negotiations. What we currently know as Major League Baseball is subject to change drastically as soon as next season. What are some of the topics that the two sides are close agreeing on?

  • the league’s first realignment since 1998
  • revamped schedules, including more consistent interleague play
  • a new owner for the Astros franchise
  • new policies for signing free agents
  • the addition of play-off teams

What exactly does this mean for Major League Baseball? With the first realignment since the Rays and Diamondbacks joined in 1998, it is being proposed that the Houston Astros moved from the National League to American League, evening the number of teams in each league to fifteen organizations.

Along with the Astros moving from the NL Central to the AL West in the 2013 season, that will give a balance to the six divisions within the MLB, putting five teams within each division. Instead of inter-division rivals playing one another 19 times each season, competition and match-ups between all teams will be more even. In regards to interleague play, instead of using the current format, which has been used since its inception, it will be expanded to a year-round occurrence.

There will be more change for the Houston Astros, with a new owner coming into the mix; Jim Crane has put in a bid for $680 million for the franchise. Since he is willing to move the organization to the American League, Crane will receive $80 million since he has claimed that the move will devalue his television market.

The policy including the signing of high profile free agents is close to being changed, and is one of the changes that could be enforced immediately. Currently, teams losing Type-A free agents benefit from their former player leaving by receiving compensatory draft picks. Now, it appears that this will no longer be the case for teams who are not able to re-sign their players.

Lastly, the MLB is close to agreeing that two more teams to the play-off field, bringing the number of teams in October to ten. Doing so would not change anything for the division winners, but adding two more Wild Card teams.

What do you think about these changes? I like them all except for the free agent compensation and adding more play-off teams. Having the compensation for teams unable to re-sign free agents was one way to keep the playing field somewhat level, giving them a chance to receive talent and preventing the rich from getting richer (kind of).

Also, I don’t understand why more Wild Card teams needs to be added to the mix. The postseason is supposed to be an exclusive club, yet Bud Selig is fine with letting not only the Wild Card team into October baseball, but also the team that wasn’t strong enough during the 162-game season to win any of the pennant races. It’s a very exciting month of baseball and I don’t see the reason why it has to be changed.

Do I think that it’s smart of the MLB to negotiate the new CBA now instead of waiting for it to expire like the NFL and NBA? Absolutely. Will the game be different from this pending agreement? Most definitely…which is what makes me antsy.

Update:

It’s official, today, Bud Selig told reporters in Milwaukee that the Houston Astros will switch to the American League so that both leagues will have 15 teams each.  As such, there will now be at least one interleague game every day. All six divisions will now have five teams each.

The league will also add an additional Wild Card team in each league for 2013. The two qualifying Wild Card teams will play in a one-game playoff.

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