How The New CBA Affects MLB and the Colorado Rockies
Many of the new changes to the CBA are positive for the game. Perhaps the best? The removal of the absurd rule tying the All-Star Game to the World Series. No longer will MLB award home-field advantage to the league that wins the Midsummer Classic. Instead, it will go to the team with the best regular season record. It’s such an obvious, universally accepted move, it’s baffling that it took over 100 years for MLB to figure it out.
The league also replaced the 15-day DL with the 10-day DL. This might seem like a minor move, but it’s a simple fix that seems like it could only help. A team might be more apt to give players the DL stint (and accompanying rest time) they need to heal from smaller injuries if they know they can get the player back five days sooner. Giving teams and their players more flexibility when dealing with injuries is never a bad thing.
However, there was a very clear loser in these negotiations: International amateur free agents.
For some time now, owners have wanted to implement an international draft, similar to the NBA or NHL. International players, however, have fought this proposal every step of the way, and for good reason. Being a part of the draft would eliminate their ability to choose their team and limit their immediate earning potential.
As a way of compromising, both sides agreed to a hard cap on international spending (discussed in page one of this article). But a good compromise is based on both sides meeting somewhere in the middle. That is not what happened here.
International free agents can still negotiate contracts with whatever team they choose, but the new spending limit will mangle their ability to get the kinds of deals we’ve seen in recent years. The Red Sox gave Yoan Moncada a $31.5M signing bonus in 2015. With the new rules, that’s more than the whole budget for an entire division combined.
The result is disappointing, but it’s far from surprising. Players that have already made it to the majors have little to gain by sticking their neck out for younger guys trying to take their spot, so when the time came to make concessions, it’s no shock the MLBPA haggled away the earning power of international free agents.
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No one will cry poor for a kid only getting $2M instead of $20M to go play baseball in America. And these changes will almost certainly help smaller market teams that can’t afford to go crazy with their spending. But make no mistake about it, MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement by agreeing to throw the negotiating rights of international free agents under the bus.