After 99 mostly pointless days of delay, the MLB vs. MLBPA lockout has come to an end. There will be a full, 162-game season this year, though with some not insignificant changes. As exciting as that is, I, for one, can’t wait for us to do this all over again in five years. Should be great!
Twenty-six of the 38 union leaders voted in favor of a five-year CBA that saw its members make significant gains with regard to minimum salaries and the competitive balance tax threshold, among other areas. The 30 team owners ratified the deal by a unanimous vote, according to the league, finalizing a CBA that provided them with an expanded postseason field and the ability to place advertisements on uniforms.
A path to a deal seemed to be coming into focus on Thursday morning when the sides resolved how to navigate the question of what to do about direct draft-pick compensation, otherwise known as the qualifying offer. The parties will keep talking about the international amateur system and direct draft pick compensation until July 25. At that point, if the players want to get rid of the qualifying offer, they have to take the international draft. Otherwise, there’s no change to the qualifying offer, and the owners don’t get the international draft.
Training camps in Florida and Arizona will open Friday, and the mandatory reporting date is Sunday. Exhibition games will begin March 17 or 18. Fans can start making plans to be at Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Camden Yards next month. Opening day is being planned for a little more than a week behind the original date of March 31.
Beyond the legal jargon, the new CBA includes significant stipulations that have the potential to completely reshape America’s Pastime.
Below is a breakdown of the three most significant (and potentially league-altering) rule changes.
To clear up any lingering confusion over the season, the schedule and the specifics of the new CBA, here’s a handy FAQ to keep baseball fans up to date.
With the ink still drying on a CBA that took months to negotiate, there are few guarantees about who will turn out to be the winners and losers. But, at least at first glance, there do not appear to many changes that will benefit a mid-to-small market club like the Diamondbacks.
“It’s kinda been that nightmare you’ve been in for what seems like your entire life and then all of a sudden there’s the dawn of a new day,” he said. “Today was the dawn of a new day.
“I’m very happy for our fans, very happy for our players, very happy for all of us who work for the Diamondbacks and all the other major league clubs on a daily basis. It’s a good day for baseball.”
Because the Diamondbacks are not in win-now mode, the market conditions created by the end of the lockout work in their favor. Other teams may feel the pressure to snatch up one of the remaining big free agents, but Arizona wasn’t going to swim in those waters anyway. The Diamondbacks are looking for depth, for the most part, to avoid another huge collapse as their young players gain more experience and exposure.