December 31, 2016


The Mets will again start the new year with one of the league's most impressive starting rotations. And an impossible task to try to keep this core of hard throwing starters on the team for the long term.

As the New York Daily News reported recently, GM Sandy Alderson has the task of trying to control the rotation for longer than their current projected arbitration years.

The idea of a contract extension is that a team offers guaranteed money through a players’ arbitration years in exchange for the first few years of the players’ free agency. Usually the player gets less money than he ideally would get on the open market, but more than he would in arbitration. They are assured that money whether he suffers a long-term injury or his level of play drops off. For a team built around pitching and these young arms in particular (and a team whose farm system is light on top pitching prospects) these decisions are going to be an increasingly important part of shaping the franchise’s future over the next few years.

Alderson said he would not rule out talking to a pitcher’s agent about an extension during the 2017 season, but indicated it was not something he was contemplating before the Mets get to Port St. Lucie.

“I am not going to say we would do or we are not going to do it,” Alderson said of looking to lock up one of their talented young arms long term during the season, “but heading into spring training, it’s not likely going to happen.”

Matt Harvey will be the first of the Mets’ young arms who will test the team’s future plans. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility and under the Mets’ control for just two more seasons. This is really the last winter the Mets could expect any possible value in an extension. After an All-Star season in 2013, he missed 2014 after Tommy John surgery. He pitched 218 innings, a record for a pitcher in his first season back from the elbow surgery, going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA in 2015. He struggled most of the 2016 season with command and was shut down in early July after surgery to address the circulation issues associated with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Jacob deGrom, who was given an extra year of arbitration through the Super-2 designation this winter, would be the ideal candidate for the Mets to discuss an extension with this winter.
DeGrom had a disappointing 2016, going 7-6 with a 3.04 ERA, after a Rookie of the Year season in 2014 and a stellar 14-8 (2.54 ERA) season in 2015. He had Tommy John early in his minor league career and was shut down early in 2016 to have surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his elbow.
Harvey said earlier this month that the surgery had relieved the issues of numbness in his fingers and he is seeing results as he works through his offseason throwing program. DeGrom was still waiting to begin his throwing program earlier this month when he spoke to reporters. Older than Harvey, deGrom will be 32 when he finally reaches free agency and could be more open to the idea of an extension.

Zack Wheeler is in his first year of arbitration eligibility and reaches free agency after the 2019 season, deGrom after 2020 and Stephen Matz and Noah Syndergaard are only under control through the 2021 season.

So the Mets have a wealth of starting pitchers for the next two seasons. However, the Mets are still running a tight team budget. As much as the talent of the franchise rests with starting pitching, the field position lacks key superstars. Re-signing Yoenis Cespedes was a mandatory cost to hold the fans' off-season attention. But with David Wright's continuing health issues, and no natural center fielder on the roster, the Mets do have glaring holes in their line up.

It is doubtful that the Mets will trade any of their starters to close the line up gaps with hitters. The Mets need to have depth at starter because its power arms are prone to injury.

December 27, 2016


Jose Quintana is an under-the-radar ace. He is only 27 years old. He is under team control for four more years at a very low salary.  In five major league seasons, he has gone 46-46, 3.41 ERA, 1.242 WHIP and 20.5 WAR. By most estimations, he is more valuable trade chip than Chris Sale.

When the White Sox were dealing at the Winter Meetings, everybody was on the table. There were rumors that several teams were interested in Quintana: the Astros, the Mets, and the Nationals. But once Sale was traded to the Red Sox for the best prospects Boston had available, the price for Quintana apparently went up. And once the Nationals seemingly overpaid for CF Adam Eaton, talks on Quintana have become whispers.

There are other teams that have been kicking the tires. The Orioles do not have the top level prospects to cut a deal, and they are unlikely to deal two players off their 25 man roster as part of a package.

The Mets are in a similar position, but they are looking for bullpen studs rather than starting pitching.

Even though the White Sox are rich in minor league starters, GM Rick Hahn continues to stockpile arms. The Mets will not part with Steven Matz in a Quintana deal.

The Rangers are always an odd-fellow in the trade market. The Rangers always prize starting pitchers as acquisition targets. But it is unclear whether the Rangers have enough depth to pull off a multi-player deal.

A team with an potential excess of starting pitchers is the Dodgers. Injuries mowed down its entire rotation. It will start camp with eight or nine legitimate major league starters. Adding Quintana would not make much sense, but the Dodgers could be the conduit of a three team trade to move some of their excess starters to another club in exchange for a starting second basemen.

But the one team that still is trying to get a deal done is the Pirates. The Pirates would love to have a cost controlled starter to throw behind Gerrit Cole. Pittsburgh did re-sign ex-Yankee Nova but the team wants to maintain its budget with players who value exceeds the price. However, moving Andrew McCutchen to the White Sox is not part of the discussion.

The White Sox have received enough fan support to go through the rest of the off-season without making any further moves. But Quintana, because of his highly favorable contract, will continue to draw interest. Ironically, the Cubs main message this off-season has been to acquire a young, controllable starting pitcher. Quintana is the that pitcher.

December 20, 2016


From the beginning, the one golden business philosophy of the new Cubs ownership has been that no one else except the Cubs should profit from the Cubs in Wrigleyville.

It did not matter that Lakeview businesses such as bars and restaurants have been serving the community for generations (even when the Cubs product could not draw flies). Ricketts strong belief is that no one is entitled to make any direct or indirect money off his team.

No wonder there has been a contentious relationship between the Cubs and the neighborhood. The suit against the rooftop owners was a prime example. Even after the settlement, Ricketts attempted to block them out of business with new jumbotrons. The residents have pushed back on the unilateral demands of the Cubs, but the Cubs have steam rolled the city council to ask for more and more exceptions to the general business rules.

The Ricketts massive redevelopment plan in and around Wrigley Field is clearly "overzoning" for the residential neighborhood. The density and traffic concerns of the area was not truly addressed as the council rubber stamped the development in a time when Chicago is still reeling from the 2008 real estate collapse.

The Cubs sued a man who was selling on the street corner his own Cubs newsletter. Despite the First Amendment rights of publishers, the Cubs were trying to muscle out anyone who would "compete" with their vendors selling game programs. It would seem petty to try to drive out a man trying to sell programs to help support his kid's education, but the Cubs took the matter to the federal appellate court, which gave me a mixed ruling - - - including a statement that the Cubs themselves were violating a city ordinance against peddlers around Wrigley Field. In response, the Cubs quietly lobbied the city to change that ordinance for the team's benefit.

The Cubs placed their own souvenir shop across the street from Wrigley to compete with the other street merchants. The team pushed the envelope by offering official player signed game jerseys.

The Ricketts wanted the triangle space to be an unregulated, open air beer garden. Even that was too much for police and fire to handle. But this is part of the plan to capture every single dollar spent in a mile radius of the park. The idea of more Wrigley concerts is a way to try to diminish other live entertainment venues like the Cubby Bear. It is also a means of the Ricketts family trying to maximize revenue from Wrigley Field when baseball is not played. It is apparent that whole concept that Ricketts wants to create their own year round entertainment center like Disneyland.

But just as sinister of motivations is how the team treats its most loyal fans, the season ticket holders. Season ticket holders paid top dollar for years of horrible Cubs baseball. The Cubs have been near the top of the league with the most expensive ticket prices. Fans were rewarded during the bad stretch with the advent of "dynamic" ticket prices - - - you had to pay more for games with good teams. All prices inside the park increased as well, making it very difficult for an average middle class family to attend games.

So with the World Championship team of young controllable core of players, the Cubs first reaction was to significantly raise ticket prices 6 to 31 percent. The highest toll is being collected on the prime box seats season ticket holders, who are also being pushed to buy "memberships" in the exclusive lounge to be built under Wrigley Field. This lounge is to keep the high rollers inside the park before and after games so they spend their booze money inside Wrigley. Some called the rise in ticket prices a slap in the face to loyal season ticket holders.

Well, the slap has turned into a full sucker punch. The Tribune reports today that many season ticket holders have lost 2017 seats because the Cubs were upset that many "sold" their tickets during the playoffs for greater than face value. The Cubs already collected the face value on the tickets. But the team is upset that it "lost" the secondary market "profit" on those tickets. It is a really tenuous argument. The Cubs set the price of the tickets and collected the money. The Cubs did not lose anything except the notion that someone else is making money instead of the Ricketts clan.

The Cubs claim that its crackdown is to keep tickets in the hands of people who actually plan on attending the games. It is also a way for them to try to maximize revenues, or at least prevent others from profiting handsomely over their popular product, according to the Tribune story.

The Tribune story states that the Cubs season ticket holder agreement is a "revocable license."
Season ticket licenses are renewed on a yearly basis, the club said, "at the sole discretion of the team." The license agreement includes language advising fans their plan may be canceled if tickets have been purchased "for the purpose and intent of reselling the tickets on the secondary market."

It is ironic since the Cubs have been for years "reselling" their own tickets through their own ticket broker. And Major League Baseball has an official partnership with StubHub makes it easier than ever for fans to sell and buy tickets with a few clicks of a button or swipes of the finger. For high-demand teams like the Cubs, the puzzle is how to capture the maximum amount of dollars without alienating loyal and longtime fans, while keeping at least some prices affordable for the average fan, those who study sports business told the Tribune.

So instead of rewarding the most loyal fans who spent the most to support their team, season ticket holders get the harshest brunt of the Ricketts greed. It just puts into focus one of the realities of this era of the Cubs. The fans truly love and admire the players and coaches, but they do not like the owners.

During the playoffs, I told friends that a Cubs World Championship would be the WORST thing that could happen to the Ricketts family. The Ricketts have not completed the bulk of their real estate development work. They have not generated any new revenue from the McDonald's block or the new triangle building. They are spending millions of dollars with the expectation that more people will flock to their venue to see the Cubs.

But one of the driving forces for fans to come to Cub games was the 108 year championship drought. They came to be a part of history, when the curse would be broken. Many paid dearly to attend games or be around the park during the World Series. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

And that moment finished with a World Championship.

And that diffuses and crumbles one of the foundations of Cub fandom: the lovable losers are no more. People have their championship season. They have their World Series merchandise. They have the lifetime memories of the World Series run. Nothing will surpass that emotion.

So there is little reason for the average person to pay 31 percent more to watch in person the 2017 Cubs. Many will save their money for next year's expensive playoff games by watching games on TV. And for a few, once the top of the mountain was reached, there is no need to climb the trail again. They will become part-time, causal fans.  And those new fans who were caught up by the hysteria of the bandwagon, will probably drop off and return to their normal, non-sports centric lives.

All those elements bode for less revenue opportunities for the Ricketts because the Cubs peaked a couple of years too soon to capture all the Rickettsville revenue.

December 17, 2016


The Associated Press reported a record six teams are paying baseball's luxury tax this season, led by the Los Angeles Dodgers at $31.8 million and the New York Yankees at $27.4 million, the 14th straight year New York has had to pay the tax.

Other taxed clubs include Boston ($4.5 million), Detroit ($4 million), San Francisco ($3.4 million) and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs ($2.96 million).

Los Angeles owes for the fourth consecutive year and like New York pays at a 50 percent rate on the amount above the $189 million threshold. The Dodgers paid a record $43 million for 2015, and their four-year total is $113 million.

Boston and San Francisco pay at a 30 percent rate as offenders for the second straight year, and Detroit and the Cubs - a first-time payer - are at 17.5 percent.

The purpose of  the luxury tax in an effort to slow spending by large-market clubs and combined with revenue sharing has helped increase the competitive of small-market teams and those in the middle.
The threshold increases to $195 million next year under the new labor contract, and tax rates go up, too. There will be additional surtaxes, raising the rate to as much as 95 percent for the amount above $235 million, with the increase to be phased in for 2017 at the midpoint between the old and new rules.

Los Angeles lowered its payroll from a record $291 million last year to just under $255 million, which topped the major leagues for the third straight year. For purposes of the tax, which uses average annual values and includes benefits, the Dodgers' payroll was nearly $253 million.
Luxury tax payrolls figure to increase slightly across the major leagues next year because of a provision in the labor contract calling for the inclusion of salaries of players sent outright to the minors starting this Dec. 1.

The Yankees' regular payroll was second at $224.5 million, up slightly from last year's $223.6 million, followed by Boston ($200.6 million), Detroit ($199 million), the Cubs ($182 million), San Francisco ($181 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($173 million).

Milwaukee had the lowest payroll at $65.5 million, down from $98 million last year. Tampa Bay was at $67 million, down from $77 million.

The AP report said that spending on 40-man major league payrolls totaled nearly $4.1 billion, an increase of $200 million.

There is an old saying that a team cannot "buy" a championship. But last year, the majority of big spending teams did well.

The Cubs got 103 wins, Boston 93, Dodgers 91, Giants 87, Detroit 86 and the Yankees 84. That is 544 total team wins by the luxury tax group or a winning percentage of .560 (about 91 wins).

December 12, 2016


Did the Cardinals overpay to sign Dexter Fowler?

St. Louis signed the Cubs World Series centerfielder for $82.5 million/5 year contract.

Fowler, 30, was a valuable lead off hitter for the Cubs. And once the team figured out that he was playing too shallow in center, Fowler's defensive metrics improved dramatically. He went from a 2.2 WAR to a 4.2 WAR in 2016.

But one could temper his improvement as being Wrigley Field bias. Fowler's career WAR is only 18.1 over 9 seasons. 35.6 percent of his career WAR is attributed to just the past two seasons.

Many fans do not care what teams spend on players because it is not their money. But that is a narrow view. Teams have tighter baseball budgets. League revenue may be great but it is suspect with the sudden decline in cable television ratings and advertising shifting to other platforms. If your team overpays for a player, it cuts down the available budget to sign other key players to make a contending team. Also, it forces the team to find more revenue, usually from the fans. Example, the Cubs raising ticket prices for 2017  by an average of 19.1 percent.

So how did the Cardinals value Fowler?

First, as a subtraction from the divisional winner, Cubs. Just as the Cubs took away Jason Heyward and John Lackey from the Cardinal roster, the Cards pull a piece from the Cubs roster to make it weaker (on paper).

Second, the Cardinals need a steady, experienced lead off hitter. Traditional lead off hitters (high OBP, speed) are harder to find. Fowler is not quite traditional, but makes up for it with more power than an normal lead off hitter.

Third,  $82.5 million deal equals approximately 14.0 WAR. Over the life of the contract, Fowler would have to average 2.8 WAR per season to hit the $82.5 million value. In his eight full seasons, he has only hit that mark twice in his career or 25% of the time. If you take his last 8 seasons of WAR (18.4) you have 2.3 WAR/season. The premium appears to be 0.5 WAR/season or about $14.75 million or almost an entire season of potential dead money.

In baseball free agent contracts, some players are willing to discount an annual salary to get more guaranteed years. This is especially true in late career two-three year deals. But in Fowler's case, this is his last peak contract. He did not discount his current performance for a future guarantee. With Adam Eaton traded to the Nationals, there were few proven center fielders left on the market. Fowler leveraged the shortage to his advantage.

Fourth, Fowler does bring a level of intangibles to a team. He was well liked in the Cub locker room. He has a friendly smile and is a fan favorite. In St. Louis, some media writers opine that his presence will help solidify the community. But just by signing Fowler is not going to turn that 17.5 game deficit from the Cubs 2016 mark to zero. But Fowler is an upgrade in CF from their existing player roster so one cannot clearly say that the Cardinals overpaid for Fowler.

December 8, 2016


In the previous two off-seasons, White Sox GM Hahn was credited as winning the winter by the moves he made to bring major league talent in an effort to win now. But all those acquisitions underperformed to the point of discontent both in the locker room and stands.

At mid-season, Hahn said he was unhappy with the performance of his club. He said the off-season would signal which direction the team was going to take. It is apparent this is a total, painful, four year rebuild process.

Ace Chris Sale had worn out his welcome with President Kenny Williams. The Sox could not win with him, so with his three year $48 million ownership friendly deal, the White Sox acquired four Red Sox prospects, including the #1 overall position prospect in Yoan Moncada.

Boston also sent highly touted pitching prospect Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-hander Victor Diaz to Chicago. Moncada is the #1 ranked in the game, according to The deal marks the first time in at least 25 years that baseball's No. 1 prospect has been traded, based on the rankings done by MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.

If that was not enough, Hahn stunned the winter meetings by trading OF Adam Eaton to the Nationals for their three best prospects, including the #1 pitching prospect in the game.

Eaton, 28, is under contract for the next 5 years. He had a freak 6.0 WAR last season after moving from CF to RF. He had been one of the most productive outfielders in the Majors during the past three years even though he has flown a bit under the radar. Since 2014, he has accumulated a 12.7 WAR according to FanGraphs, which ranks 10th among all Major League outfielders. The locals who watched Eaton play on a daily basis were underwhelmed by his play, especially in CF. But the Nationals are going to play him in center so to move their best prospect, Trea Turner, to shortstop. Some believe that Eaton will wind up in RF in Washington because their home park has a large CF area that Eaton cannot cover. Bryce Harper, who is looking for a $400 million extension, could move to center. The Nationals clearly believe that their championship window is closing so they had to make a deal for an affordable, multiple tool center fielder.

In order to acquire Eaton, the Nationals traded Lucas Giolito (#1 prospect), Reynaldo Lopez (#2 prospect) and  and Dane Dunning (#6 prospect, last year's first round pick). The three right-handed pitchers are very young, but Gilolito and Lopez have tasted limited major league action. Lopez was stellar in some of his starts with a plus fastball and killer curve.  Giolito is baseball's number 3 overall and Lopez comes in at No. 38, but some scouts believe Lopez may have more upside.

So in a matter of 24 hours, the White Sox have turned their bottom quarter farm system into a Top 5 organization. The minors are now loaded with Top 100 prospects: 1., Moncada, 3.Giolito, 30 Kopech, 38 Lopez, 58 Carson Fulmer, 80 Zack Collins. The Top 10 Sox prospects are now 1 Moncada, 2, Giolito, 3 Kopech, 4 Lopez, 5. Fulmer, 6. Collins, 7 Spencer Adams, 8 Zack Burdi, 9 Luis Basabe, and 10 Dunning. Six of the Top Ten White Sox prospects have arrived in the past 24 hours.

The crazy thing is that the White Sox had good quality pitching prospects before the two deals. On the prospect list are pitchers Alec Hansen (14), LHP Jordan Guerreo (16), Jordan Stephens (17), Tyler Danish (21), LHP Brian Clark (22), and Chris Beck (24). No wonder no one blinks at the prospect that Hahn could pull the trigger and trade SP Jose Quintana to reap the same type of return as Chris Sale.

It is true that most prospects to not pan out to be impact major league players. But the Sox now have so much pitching depth that it is more probable than not that in the near future they will field a home grown, dominating starting rotation which would be the envy of the league.

December 6, 2016


The Winter meetings are slowly moving through the bars and lobby. The talk is still about Chris Sale.

Sale would be the prize of this off-season.

The reason is simple: he has tremendous locked in value.

He is signed through the next three years at the low price of $48 million.
He has amassed a career 31.1 WAR, an average of 4.44 per season.
Last year WAR was 6.6.

Based on valuation, his contract value WAR is 2.71. His average career performance WAR is 4.44 or a difference of 1.73 WAR at an annual value of $10.21 million. Over the life of the contract, a team is getting a minimum $30.62 million more value from Sale and his deal than what the team will pay him.

Last year alone, Sale outperformed his contract by $29.85 million. At that pace, you are getting a $90 million ace starter for 5th starter money.

The Dodgers just signed 36 year old Rich Hill to a $48 million, 3 year deal. For the same money, who would not want Sale over Hill?

Last year, Hill had an inflated WAR of 4.1 His career WAR is only 9.5 over 12 seasons (.0.79 = less than AAA replacement value). But by last year's standard, Sale was + 2.5 WAR better than Hill for better value by $14.75 million.

This is why the White Sox are wanting a huge price for Sale. Reports continue to state that the White Sox want at least four quality prospects (Top 10) or a mix of prospects and major league ready players under long term control.

That is why the Astros dangling OF George Springer for Sale is a possibility. Springer is under team control through 2021. He is currently at the league minimum. He hit .261, 29 HR, 82 RBI for Houston in 2016. Last year his WAR was 5.0. A package with Springer and two of Houston's best prospects could swing a Sale deal.

But the White Sox have some time to get other teams hot and bothered by a potential deal. The Nationals continue to be described as the "hottest" team on the Sale trail. But the Nats do not want to part with their two best prospects (SS Turner and OF Robles).  But the odds are that some team will be winning to "overpay" for Sale if they believe they are one key player away from a World Series berth.


Within ten minutes of this post, MLBTR reports Sale has been traded to the Red Sox for four prospects.

The Red Sox and White Sox have agreed to a blockbuster trade that will send Sale from Chicago to Boston in exchange for Yoan Moncada, Michale Kopech and two other prospects, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Moncada, 21, is the #1 prospect in all Baseball. The Cuban 2B/3B hit .294, 15 HR 62 RBI in A-AA ball last season.

Kopech was the #5 Red Sox prospect (#67 in majors). He is a starting pitcher who was 4-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.101 WHIP in Class A ball.

December 2, 2016


Jason Stark was on ESPN Radio recently talking about the Chris Sale market. He said teams have said that the White Sox demands are extremely high for their ace. He said it looks like the Sox want to have a team's No. 1 prospect, two more in top five and another quality player (probably major league ready). Not many teams are willing to unload 3 or 4 of their best prospects for one player.

But reports continue to surface that the Red Sox, Rangers, Nationals, Astros and the Braves have asked about Sale. Stark predicts that the price may come down, and the Sox will trade Sale before Opening Day.

Sale will command the highest price tag because this year's starting pitching FA crop is barren. The Red Sox and Nationals have indicated that they are not trading their top prospects.

It is felt that the Astros will be the most aggressive team this off-season. Houston is poised to make a break out season like the Cubs in 2015. The Astros have inked OF Aoki, Reddick,  C McCann and SP Morton. The top prospects in the system include #1 (#29 overall) RHP Franics Martes, 21, who is moved up quickly to AA with a 9-6, 3.30 record as a starter. #2 is OF Kyle Tucker, 19, in A ball. #3 is RHP Forrest Whitley, a 6'7" rookie league player. #4 is RHP David Paulino to went through 3 levels to make a sip of coffee in the bigs last season.  #5 is OF Derek Fuller, a lefty hitting OF who hit .245, 16 HR, 59 RBI and 23 SB in AAA. Another good prospect is first rounder 3B Colin Moran who hit .259, 10 HR, 69 RBI in AAA. He is major league ready.

The White Sox have plenty of pitching prospects but are weak on position prospects.  Did the Astros signal with their outfield signings it would be willing to trade George Springer, 27, who hit .261, 29 HR, 82 RBI in the right deal for a stud starter? Springer is under team control to 2021.

In order for the White Sox to "win" the Sale deal, they need to get the "best" player in the deal in return. Springer does fit a real long term need. Adding a lefty speed OF in Fuller and 3B Moran could be part of a package, since the White Sox are willing to trade Todd Frazier because the third base free agent market is as bad as the starting pitching one.

If the Sox want to trade a big piece, they have to get young quick. That was the formula that the Cubs used to snare Addison Russell.

The Sox have fence sitting fans. Any Sale trade needs to bring back immediate "impact" players in return. 

December 1, 2016


Selig's Folly is dead. In 2002, Commissioner Selig's All-Star blunder (of teams running out of players) of making the exhibition game "count" in the playoffs is no longer the case. Back to the basics of sports, the team with the best record will have earned the advantage in the World Series. This makes every game important.

The change of the All-Star game ramifications is part of the new collective bargaining agreement. The new five year deal tweaks various aspects of the old deal. reviewed the new changes:

The most surprising twist is that home-field advantage in the World Series will no longer be tied to the All-Star Game, as first reported by The Associated Press. Instead, the pennant winner with the better regular-season record will get home-field advantage in the Fall Classic.

Free-agent compensation
Specifics on Draft-pick compensation are still being discussed. That said, qualifying offers -- which will still be calculated based on the average of the top 125 salaries -- can still be extended to free agents, but no more than once per player in his career. A player must still be on his club for the entire season to receive a qualifying offer.

Teams losing a free agent who received a qualifying offer will get a Draft pick only if the player signs a contract worth at least $50 million. After that, the pick depends on a team's market size, according to MLB Network Insider Ken Rosenthal.

Beginning in the 2017-18 offseason, teams will not lose first-round Draft picks for signing a premier free agent. However, teams exceeding the luxury-tax threshold would lose a second-rounder, a fifth-rounder and $1 million in international pool money.
If a club hasn't exceeded the luxury-tax threshold, it will lose a third-round pick.

Luxury tax threshold
Incremental increases from the current $189 million of 2014-16 to:
2017: $195 million
2018: $197 million
2019: $206 million
2020: $209 million
2021: $210 million

Tax rates for teams exceeding the threshold will rise from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first-time instances, remain at 30 percent for second instances and increase from 40 to 50 percent for third-time instances.

There's a new 12 percent surtax for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 40 percent for first instances more than $40 million above the threshold and 42.5 percent for teams $40 million above the threshold a second time, according to The Associated Press.

International Draft
Rather than an international Draft, which owners had sought, the two sides agreed to a bonus pool system, with a hard cap on how much each team can spend. That pool is expected to be $5 million to $6 million per team. Under the previous CBA, the bonus pools were scaled based on record the previous year, with the worst teams getting a little more than $5 million and the club with the best record getting a bonus pool in the $2 million range. It was also a "soft" cap, meaning teams could exceed it, but had to pay penalties for doing so.

Cuban-born players who are at least 25 years old, with six-plus years of experience in Serie Nacional, will maintain exemption from the international bonus pool, according to's Jon Paul Morosi.

Roster size
No change. Teams will have 25-man rosters for the regular season, expanding to 40 in September. An expansion to 26-man rosters for April through August had been discussed in exchange for a smaller roster expansion in September, but that did not materialize.

Disabled list
The minimum time for a trip to the DL will be reduced from 15 days to 10, according to The Associated Press.

Other items of note
• Beginning in 2018, the regular season will begin in mid-week to create additional off-days during the schedule.

• According to the New York Post, incoming Major Leaguers will be banned from using smokeless tobacco, but current players will be "grandfathered in" and still be permitted.


1. The All Star league winner for home field advantage in World Series has been a thorn on many teams sides for years.  The idea that the best team should have home field advantage during the playoffs makes the most sense and will have the biggest change in the new deal.

2. The shortening of the DL from 15 to 10 days will have operational consequences. First, it makes it easier to activate players with day to day soft tissue injuries. Second, it is a compromise between the concussion protocol and the old DL time frame. Third, it will add additional player travel cost moving players from minors to the majors. Fourth, it really gives starting pitchers a quicker avenue to get back to the big leagues (missing 2 starts instead of 3).

3. The free agent qualifying offer compensation is still a quagmire of exceptions. The new deal allows second tier free agents (normally players in their late thirties looking for a final 2-3 year deal) to reject a qualifying offer for a one year deal (for this year's amount of $17.2 million) in order to get a higher guaranteed sum in a 2 or 3 year deal below the $50 million threshold.

4. The owners lost out on an international draft, but gained additional funds for the large market teams to equalize with the small market clubs. The hard cap makes it harder for international free agents to big up their bonus demands. It also stops teams from spending Round 1 bonus dollars on foreign teenagers, which makes U.S. high school and college prospects more of a scouting priority.