The Pirates Got F#@&3D And Other Thoughts on the CBA
Amongst little fanfare, MLB and the Players Assn. finalized a CBA last week. Yeah, no lockout! Baseball is awesome! Right?
Not so much. Baseball is still jacked up. And in this little agreement, not only have they done nothing to help baseball’s small market teams, they’ve actually made it more difficult for them to compete. Here are some of the lowlights:
1) The draft rule changes really hurt the small market teams. Here is a brief summary of the changes.
Clubs that exceed their Signing Bonus Pools will be subject to penalties as follows:
Excess of Pool Penalty - (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)
0-5% - 75% tax on overage
5-10% - 75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
10-15% - 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
15%+ - 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts
The ten Clubs with the lowest revenues, and the ten Clubs in the smallest markets, will be entered into a lottery for the six draft selections immediately following the completion of the first round of the draft. A Club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage. The eligible Clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee Clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, will be entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the completion of the second round of the draft.
This a brutal. If you look at bonus expenditures from 2011, you’ll see that the top three are the Pirates, Nationals and Royals, by a hefty margin over the other teams. Part of this is due to having the highest picks but much of it is “over-paying” at certain spots to get young players to sign instead of going to college/play football/etc. They won’t be able to do this anymore. The extra ONE PICK is nice, but c’mon, one pick! That’s nothing compared to the number of good young players a team can sign by over-slotting. Instead, MLB would rather have the Pirates over-pay for mediocre major leaguers. The Pirates are going to have to acquire someone with an online accounting degree just to make sure these new rules are followed.
[More after the jump...]
2) The international cap hurts teams heavily invested in signing foreign talent. The cap will be $2.9 million starting next year. Seeing that one player could easily garner a $2 million dollar bonus, it will be hard to sign multiple good young players. And just think about the poor families in impoverished countries like the DR, Venezuela, and others that use MLB signing bonuses like life rafts to carry them out of poverty. This is where MLB wants to crack down, but the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies can spend $200 million a year on payroll only to pay a penalty to MLB and then keep right on rolling. [More on this later…]
3) The net transfer value of the Revenue Sharing Plan will be the same as the current plan. The only change is that the fifteen clubs in the largest markets will be disqualified from receiving revenue sharing by 2016.
Really? No more money for the “little guys.” Yeah, they probably don’t need it. The system is working great now.
4) The “competitive balance tax” changes don’t hurt the Phillies and Red Sox too bad and the Yankees are so rich it doesn’t matter to them, so basically it’s pointless to all parties except MLB, because they collect the tax money.
The threshold for having to pay the luxury tax is $178 million for the next two seasons and then $189 million for the three years after that. The penalty is 17% for first offenders, 30% for the second year with a ten percent increase the next two years reaching a max penalty of 50%.
It doesn’t put the squeeze on the Phillies and Red Sox because while 17% is nothing to sneeze at ($30+ million) it’s within reason for these teams to afford it for one year and most teams other than the Yankees do not stay above the threshold for multiple years. And under the agreement, if the team goes back under the threshold the following year, their slate is wiped clean. So, if they go over the threshold again the next year, they pay 17% again, not 30%. The increase tax only applies to consecutive years. Therefore, it’s not that big of a deal to spend wildly for one year to make a playoff run, as long as you can get back under the next season.
As for the Yankees, they have been paying this tax for years. Has it slowed down their spending at all? No. So other than making more money for MLB and creating a gap between the Yanks, who can pay this tax yearly, and teams like the Phillies/Sox/Cubs, what’s the point? Calling it a “competitive balance tax” is insulting. It’s just a plain old tax that doesn’t affect the competitive balance at all.
I’m thinking that Ed Wade probably won’t get another GM job in baseball. Advanced scout. Assistant GM. Sure. But he’ll never be the “head honcho.” And that’s nothing but bad news for the Phillies. Where will they get their next crop of good players for mediocre prospects? The “Ed Wade Phillies Feeder System” that was in place in Houston has been instrumental in the Phillies’ recent success. Brad Lidge. Roy Oswalt. Hunter Pence. You’ll be missed, Ed. You’ll be missed.
Count me as one of those not happy that there will be an NBA season. The NBA is a horrible product. It’s an abomination, a perversion of basketball, full of odd rules placed over many years to manipulate and distort game play to favor or deter specific players or styles of play. They go out of their way to make rules that favor major market teams and don’t hide their desire to for such teams to be successful. And the new CBA only does a little to change that. Above all, it was recently alleged, with a bevy of supporting evidence, to be “fixed.” And the league’s response? “Nothing to see here. Move along.” What a joke.
Booze & Music
I can’t write about booze this week, as I was denied buying my weekend 6-pack at Wegman’s because my license had expired. For real. I guess I should be thankful because I never would have noticed and for some reason the DMV never sent me a renewal, but it was still difficult watching my mixed-six of winter ales get taken away and walked back to the shelves.
On my list of pumpkin love, it’s pumpkin pie, followed by pumpkin ale, then The Smashing Pumpkins, narrowly edging out “punkin chuckin.” Well, #3 just re-released “Siamese Dream” with a second disc full of demos/acoustics/etc. If you are short on cash after Black Friday shopping, you may be able to download the new album HERE. [They also re-released “Gish.” Awesome.]
He bought somebody a pair or prosthetic legs. Really. Nice story. You can read it HERE.
I’m still riding the Tebow bandwagon. I recommend getting on because this thing probably won’t last very long. This week’s Tebow Fun Facts:
- Tebow has already beaten every team in the AFC West, on the road. Say what you want about the garbage in that division, winning on the road in the NFL is never easy.
- Tebow has one turnover in 236 touches. By comparison, Eagles quarterbacks have turned the ball over 21 times (18 INT, 3 Fumbles).