I've been away from my computer nearly all day and I'm desperately trying to catch up on the rules here, but here's a quick and dirty overview of the new rules and how the new CBA may affect the Cubs. It's possible, and probably likely, that I'll have to update and/or amend some of this information as we learn more and things become more clear.
Although it's dressed up to look like it's helping small market teams, the new CBA is more beneficial to teams unwilling to invest in the draft and scouting and development. Teams like the Chicago White Sox, for example.
Meanwhile teams are still allowed to vastly outspend small-market teams just as long as they do so on the major-league payroll. That luxury tax will remain at $178M this year and then move up in subsequent years. Doesn't make much sense.
Here is a basic rundown of some of the new rules and how it affects the Cubs. Though there's still much to process before we can be sure, it certainly appears that it won't help the Cubs and more importantly for baseball, teams like the Pirates, Rays and Royals.
Bleed Cubbie Blue had an interesting perspective:
Looking at the Cubs briefly, under this system, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Szczur would be in the NFL right now. Logan Watkins would be playing college football. Ben Wells, Dillon Maples and Shawon Dunston Jr. would be in college. Matt Garza would be playing baseball, but not for the Cubs because we would not have had Hak-Ju Lee to trade for him.
It will also affect the players coming in as their bonuses may be limited. Some fear that it may cause some athletes to choose football or basketball over baseball. It will also probably mean that high ceiling high school players will have less incentive to enter the draft and go to college instead.
Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has a more positive spin on several aspects of the new CBA, although he also doesn't believe that the changes in the draft will benefit teams like the Pirates.
Draft Pick Compensation
Rule: There will be no more Type A and Type B free agents
How it affects the Cubs: It can possibly help, but it will certainly hurt the Cubs. They had 2 possible type B free agents in Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena and if the rule does take effect this season, they will not receive the supplemental round pick they would have received under the last collective bargaining agreement.
Good news? It does open the door for the Cubs to sign a previously rated type A free agent like Kelly Johnson, if they're interested.
Rule: Players can only sign minor league contracts.
How it affects the Cubs: Doesn't really affect the Cubs more than any other team. It more affects players who are close to ML ready from getting the best deal possible.
Rule: An aggregated signing bonus will be put in place prior to each draft. Teams that go over will receive a 75% tax on overage. Any team that goes over by 15% or more face the harshest penalty: 100% tax on overage and loss of first-round picks in next two drafts.
- The range of the Signing Bonus Pool is from $4.5 million-$11.5 million.
- The more picks a club has, the larger the pool becomes that the club will have to work with.
- The size of the pools will standardize more from club to club after next year’s class of free agents.
- The size of the pools will be dependent on the number of picks a club has in a given year and where those picks fall within each round. A club with the first pick of the Draft will have the largest pool.
This sounds awful, and it is -- but it might not be as bad as you might think. While it will curb bonuses and it's difficult to know how the pools will play out at this point, Jim Callis of BA (via twitter) reports the following:
Until we know total of slot pool, it's premature to assume drastic #mlbdraft changes. If slots avg 8m/tm rather than 4.5m/tm ... extrapolating '11 spending vs slot (ht.ly/7CbaA) would have put only #Pirates, #Royals, #Nationals above 5% margin.
In other words, if the slots averaged 8M per team, the Cubs would not have been penalized last season. Again, without knowing for sure what that slot pool is going to be it's difficult to say without any real certainty. But it's possible it won't affect the Cubs as much as feared, although it certainly could have changed the approach to several of the Cubs past signees, as was pointed out earlier.
Rule: The "Super-Two", players with two-years of service time who will be arbitration eligible, will expand from the top 17% to the top 22% in terms of service time.
How it affects the Cubs: This rule may directly affect Starlin Castro, who may become arbitration eligible a year earlier than expected. All the reason to lock him up long term as soon as possible.
Scheduling, Realignment, and Postseason Play
Rule: Postseason play will be expanded to two wild cards in each league by no later than 2013.
How it affects the Cubs: Quite simply, it gives the Cubs an additional chance of making the playoffs.
Rule: The Houston Astros will move to AL West by no later than 2013.
How it affects the Cubs: The Cubs have got to get their act together quickly since they won't have the Astros to rely on when it comes to avoiding last place.
The International Signings
There will be a pool for signings where the worst teams will have the highest amount of money to spend. Any penalty over those amounts will be penalized with a tax. Teams that don't want to spend this money can
"trade" up to 50% of their allotted pool to another team.
It's difficult to say without knowing the amounts teams will be allowed to spend, but this could have actually helped the Cubs this year as they were one of the worst teams, plus they would have had the freedom to trade for more pool money.
There is much more to go over and process. In all honesty, it's difficult to tell how much this will affect the Cubs but at first glance, the team most affected seems to be Tampa, a successful yet low revenue team. It's a shame that baseball would penalize one of the smartest, most innovative teams in the league to level out the playing field for less competently run teams.
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