The initial reaction to the new CBA rightly centered around the significant changes to player acquisition, as it stood to affect the coming off-season, and promised to drag other teams down to the White Sox odd little way of doing things.
That's pretty important since the White Sox minor league system is really, quite terrible. As Larry from South Side Sox broke down in his top 10 prospect list for the organization, the best the Sox have to offer is a reliever who has probably already graduated (Reed), and the Toronto kid (Nestor Molina) who they pray isn't another reliever. The bottom of his list is a hilarious stockpile of toolsy outfielders with contact issues.
So that stuff matters, and obviously took the forefront. Also mildly pertinent, is the Twins getting very close to signing free agent OF Josh Willingham. He'll probably represent almost no change whatsoever in production from fan-favorite Michael Cuddyer and certainly isn't enough to drag them into contention, but he'll cost a little bit less. I'm sure Twins fans are just thrilled to about that.
But really, the Sox are in a holding pattern, as they wait in joyful hope, for the coming of Yankees trade offer for Danks that includes Manny Banuelos. In the meantime, there's plenty of time to have fun with the trivial details of the new CBA. I'm going to operate from this one Tribune article because it contains the above photo, and I so thoroughly adore the above photo.
First of all, the following details are part of the MLB's "Memorandum of Understanding". Just once, I want to be able to say "we have...an understanding", and when someone asks what it is, I produce an 800-page document.
Teams from the same division are now allowed to meet prior to the league championship round of the playoffs
This is sort of a necessity due to the extra playoff team, but it could be interesting if applied to the Division Series. Initially I was saddened that playing teams out of division and having unique matchups would no longer be forced, but it would also allow for a Red Sox-Yankees series to possibly occur at a more merciful 5 games. Any intra-AL Central showdown would be a pretty enjoyable bloodbath.
Players are banned from getting tattoos with corporate logos
"Just trying to head something off at the pass," said Rob Manfred. Um...ok, Rob?
There is the possibility of more players wearing microphones during games
"Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!" "Get down! Get down! Get down! Safe!?!?! Yeaaahh!" "Ooff, er, grunt". I hope you enjoy that.
More advance notice required for uniform changes
Players must tell the commissioner's office by July 31 of the preceding year if they want a new jersey. That is, unless "the player (or someone on his behalf) purchases the existing finished goods inventory of apparel containing the player's jersey number."
As they always say; if you're going to have a rule that's sole purpose is to protect merchandise sales, be hilariously honest about it.
Expanded instant replay to determine if balls are fair or foul, caught or trapped, and fan interference
Improving the accuracy of calls can only be a good thing, even if I can't help but notice that these are pretty much never the calls people get really ticked with umpires about. Also, it'd be nice if they could implement a system faster than everyone walking off the field and looking at the monitor. They won't, though, because it's baseball, and baseball has plenty of your time to spend.
The All-Star Break is now 4 games long, and the game is now allowed to be played on Wednesday
Anything to make you care about this game, guys. Anything.
All members of the 40-man roster are guaranteed single rooms during Spring Training. No more bunkmates.
Everyone's 9th favorite stock Spring Training story just got thrown into the trash. Mark Gonzalez was going to have a devil of a time writing a "Eduardo Escobar & Ozzie Martinez: Bunkmates!" piece from his "Gordon Beckham & Chris Getz: Bunkmates!" template anyway.
Players are banned from asking official scorers to reconsider decisions
A sad blow to Orlando Cabrera's fielding percentage. However, it also takes away an avenue for Joe Cowley to enter into contentious relationships with players. It'll be a new era for peace!
@gordonbeckham Gordon Beckham
@cst_Cowley: "Beckham can be a standout player. I just don't know if that can happen with the Sox. He's too in his own head." // WE WILL SEE JOE
Oh, well, not quite.
Increases in fines for "pace-of-game" violations, going up as high as $10,000 for the 6th violation
It'd be really interesting to see if this actually got aggressively applied, or how it would be.
Players are banned from betting with illegal bookies on any sport
"Players"..."banned"..."from"..."illegal", yeah, ok, probably a good rule.
Commissioner now allowed to discipline players for breaking federal, state, and local law, as well as "materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball."
This would seem like the legislation of personal conduct that Roger Goodell wields in the NFL, only Bud Selig is not Roger Goodell, and the MLBPA is very much not the NFLPA.
"Possible suspensions for intentionally throwing a ball or equipment at non-uniformed personnel with the intention of causing bodily harm; for assaulting fans, media or umpires; or for making public statements that question the integrity of the game, the umpires, the commissioner or the commissioner's staff."
Questioning the strike zone of an umpire is put in the same category as whipping a baseball at a fan's head.
Players can face discipline for violating the MLB Social Media Policy
You know, once it's written.
"The agreement calls for nicknames written on equipment to 'not reasonably likely to offend fans, business partners, players and others associated with the game.'"
They're still mad about this.
The practice of calling up players from the minors but not activating them, often referred to as "taxi squads", is forbidden
A small concession in terms of organizational flexibility that surely won't really affect the White Sox in any way for a while.
Finally, starting in 2013, there will be 6 five division teams, playing 17-18 games versus divisional opponents, and no more than 20 interleague games a year.
The White Sox played 18 interleague games in 2011, so this is going to be pretty darn mild.