If you are like me, today in many ways was the best day of the calendar year thus far. I mean, let’s be honest, we had a boring Super Bowl, gas prices are high, tension in Eastern Europe and Sean Payton resigned for crying out loud! Okay, so maybe you have had more enjoyable Sports Moments than I have thus far but the ratification of a new CBA between MLB and MLBPA is fantastic because as much as I was dedicated on building the KBO and NPB DFS models out, I really just couldn’t handle another 3 months of parsing Korean Names and stats.
I missed Spring Training as every March day went by, the games beginning at 1PM and getting pieces of information on players who are in best shape of their life and then that inevitable “player left with an oblique injury” notification. The thought of going through April or even longer without the calm of a random Tuesday night to sit down and go through an MLB DFS slate was really not something I wanted to embrace for the second time in three years and we won’t have to do it now.
So what exactly has changed with the CBA? What are the Cliff Notes as they say? Who won? What did each side get?
Well let’s first start with the players and why they might be happy. At the end of the day, they “just want to play” as they say and so getting to play a full 162 game season with full pay was the one thing with which they can walk away from this without feeling too bad about things in the short term.
- The Minimum salary will start at $700,000 this season and reach $780,000 in the final year (year 5) of the deal.
- The Luxury Tax threshold will start at $230 mililon in 2022 and finish at $244 million.
- The bonus pool will be set at $50 million, which is tremendous to help offset what many felt is the biggest problem with Baseball and that is players who aren’t yet eligible for free-agency who out perform their initial signing having go to through arbitration for pennies. Any player with fewer than 3 years of service can benefit from this. Ultimately, THIS was the biggest win for the players and we’ll see how much they complain that the number is too low.
- The owners got the MLBPA to drop a lawsuit from a few years ago which was still out there in regards to underspending and that could have been crippling to many owners. Honestly, the owners don’t give two craps about anything else, but they got this.
- Honestly the owners didn’t get much else right now other than keeping some of the numbers that the players got down below where the players wanted them to be at.
- The owners have some more chips on the table still like the International Draft and the Expanded Playoffs is technically a win for the owners as well.
What is still left to determine?
- The owners brought back up the International Draft, something which I feel is good for the game of Baseball but has many potential counter productive impacts down the line. They agreed ultimately to continue negotiating on this and the removal of the qualifying offer option that clubs have on players currently. So for now, this is put off to the side, but it’s something which will remain a hot topic down the line.
What did we, the fans, get out of all of this?
Here are the rule changes that came with this, and brace yourselves because the first one here is going to lead to more rule changes.
The League and players established a rules process that allows for off-season rule changes to take effect immediately into the next season. There will be committee which includes MLB, Owners, Players and even an Umpire. So get ready for bigger bases – who cares, it is ultimately for safety reasons And get ready for that pitch clock.
The Universal DH. Gone are the days of NL ball vs AL ball. I am somewhat sad on this, but ultimately the game will thrive just fine with this change.
A balanced schedule. This is huge. Starting in 2023 the league is going to reduce the divisional games and force every team to play each other at least once. So the Red Sox will play the Dodgers, Cardinals and Mets every single year no matter what. I assume they will just do a rotation every other year for home and away but this is a more balanced schedule which is good.
Two things you should immediately know on this.
#1. This is going to lead to increased scoring in 2023. Divisional games wind up being lower scoring because as the season moves along the coaches can adjust their bullpens based upon the opponent better. While in a playoff series you might see hitters get comfortable with the pitchers in the regular season it doesn’t work that way as much because teams trust their full bullpens more. Do not listen to the people who say “hitters wont know the pitchers they will struggle”, because no, that wont matter. The bullpens will get lit the hell up.
#2. This is going to lead to expansion. It will lead to 8 divisions of 4. My immediate guess is that we get Nashville, Montreal and Las Vegas all bidding for two more teams. It probably won’t happen until 2025 or 2026 but the expansion route is going to be the next big thing in Baseball which will ultimately lead to the 14 team playoff coming back and that brings me to the final big note …
12 Team Playoffs … Thankfully this was kept at 12 for now. The opening round Wild card (6 vs 3, 5 vs 4) will be best of 3. They didn’t say if the home team gets all 3 games as I hope they should but we’ll see.
As for the 2022 regular season, it is slated to begin on Thursday, April 7th. They will pick it up as scheduled and make up one of the postponed series at the end of the season. In between each team is gonna have 3 to 4 double header games that they have to make up and each of these will be 9 inning games. For anyone doing seasonal, pay attention to when those games could be, as that will potentially be some really big hitting weeks to load up on. And oh yeah, the extra innings are back to normal, no more man on second.
Settle in everyone, The Dongers Club is ready to fire away.