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The MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement: The Good, The Bad, and The Boring

Of all the topics in baseball, this lacks the awe inspiring wonder of a walk-off home run. That being said, the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement is a major part of off-season news and deserves its due coverage. In order to keep it light, we won’t tackle every detail of the agreement. Instead, we’ll pick a few highlights in each section to save you the same fate as this guy.


(Photo courtesy:

Overall, the consensus coverage of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is that neither side’s worlds were shattered. This may be the most important message of the agreement for fans everywhere. Short term, this will ensure another five smooth seasons of baseball. Hopefully there will be no bad blood between either side moving forward in the long term. Let’s break it down; The good, the bad, and the boring.

The Good


(Photo courtesy: CNN/Elsa/Getty Images)

The All-Star Game

  • Quick Facts:
    • World Series home field advantage is no longer tied to the outcome of the game.
    • Bonus money; to the tune of an additional $20,000 to each player on the winning team.
    • More bonus money; Home Run Derby player prize money has increased.
    • Fans and players still vote, but the commissioner’s office, not the managers, now determine the final roster spots.


  • Impact:
    • Hallelujah! The MLB is inching closer to getting this thing right. There can’t be many left defending the home field portion, especially after last year’s impact. A little cash incentive on the other hand may be enough to get the competitive juices flowing between the MLB’s top tier talent.


Overall Schedule and Disabled list

  • Quick Facts:
    • Season extended to include four additional rest days.
    • 15 day disabled list decreased to 10 days.


  • Impact:
    • Fans and fantasy baseball aficionados alike have to be feeling good about this one. Additional roster flexibility for teams, and the opportunity for some additional rest days for players. 15 days is a long time to deactivate a player with a minor injury or soreness. Hopefully this provides more incentive to keep guys healthy without worrying about the length of their DL stint.

Luxury Tax Threshold

  • Quick Facts:
    • Threshold will scale from $189 million in 2016 to $210 million by 2021.
    • Overage penalties scale up to 50% depending on number of overages.
    • Surtaxes also included, scaling up to 45%.


  • Impact:
    • Another step closer to a more even playing field across the league. This won’t completely discourage the “money bags” teams around the league, but it may give the “money ball” teams a better shot.


The Bad


(Photo courtesy: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

International Draft

  • Quick Facts:
    • Still no international draft.
    • Hard cap has been placed in the vicinity of $5 million to sign international players.


  • Impact:
    • The simple fact is the whole international system needs to be cleaned up. International players who get signed to mega-deals certainly benefit, but the rest of the system suffers. Some players have argued wage suppression only benefits the owners. Some owners have argued over the general equality of the entire system. Regardless, this hard cap seems like an odd purgatory, where wage suppression exists and the international system still doesn’t play by the same rules.

The Boring


(Photo courtesy: CSN Chicago/

Rapid Fire (Requires little explanation):

  • No change to regular season roster size.
  • No change to post season roster size.
  • Smokeless tobacco banned if your first season is 2017 and beyond.
  • Additional drug testing requirements.
  • Small minimum salary increase to account for cost of living.
  • Pension and disability benefits improved.
  • Clubhouses to provide additional amenities.
  • Clubs agree to play a few games a year internationally.


This round of CBA negotiations clearly scored wins on both sides. To reiterate, the deal got done, there was far more good than bad, and it looks as though baseball has taken another positive step forward. With the paperwork out of the way, all that’s left to do is look forward to another exciting five years of baseball.


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