How new collective bargaining agreement applies to Phillies
by Scott Butler 12/7/16

MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement

As you probably know by now, Major League Baseball has a new collective bargaining agreement. I’d like to focus on how these changes affect the Phillies specifically. Here are the major changes with notes on how they apply to Phils beneath.

No Home Field Advantage in the World Series Attached to the All-Star Game

--no specific effect on the Phillies

Minimum Disabled List Stay Reduced From 15 to 10 Days

--no specific effect on the Phillies

Luxury-tax Threshold Increasing From $189 million Last Season to $195 million Now and $210 Million Over the Course of the New Deal.

No real change here, but it’s good for the Phillies in the fact that the luxury tax jumps by $15 million before the 2018 season when practically everyone will be a free agent. It is going to be a truly epic free agent class that could include the likes of Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Harvey, and much more. It also happens to be the same year in which the Phillies might be ready to spend big. The increase is 3.2 percent this season, but that rate of increase doubles to 7.6 percent heading into the 2018 season. The timing could be just right for the Phils.

Qualifying Offer Tweaks

What really matters in respect to the Phillies is that if a player has previously gotten a qualifying offer, he can't get another, so the Phils can't offer another one to Jeremy Hellickson again next offseason. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing - it just means the Phils will have to trade him during the season rather than take their chances during the offseason as they did this year.

Here's an overview of the other changes from Jayson Stark:

Teams that sign a premium free agent will no longer have to give up a first-round draft pick to the team that lost that player. However, teams with payrolls higher than the luxury-tax threshold would have to surrender a second-and fifth-round pick. All other teams would be required to forfeit their third-round pick.

Teams that lose a free agent who rejects a qualifying offer would still receive a pick. For most teams, that pick would be a sandwich pick immediately following the competitive-balance picks that are awarded after the second round. However, if that team comes from the 15 smallest markets, is receiving revenue-sharing money and loses a free agent who signs a contract worth at least $50 million, that pick would follow the first round. If the team losing the player is over the luxury-tax threshold, the pick would follow the fourth round.

Smokeless Tobacco Ban for all new Major Leaguers

--no specific effect on the Phillies

No International Draft

This qualifies to me as a major mistake for this organization. The rules were structured in the past so that teams could exceed the international spending threshold just once – any team going over the limit was severely penalized in the following season(s). That means teams basically had one shot to go buck wild with their spending, as many teams did. The Phillies had not exceeded the spending limit, but last year was their chance to do it.  

With knowledge that an international draft was possible and with a gazillion dollars in the bank, the Phillies should have gone absolutely crazy and signed every international player they could get their hands on.  

Teams like the Phillies with big wallets aren’t able to use that to their advantage the way they used to. The penalty for exceeding the luxury tax limit is so high, it becomes a really bad investment to try to buy championships anymore. 

That is why teams need to use their financial advantage in other areas. I have long said the Phillies should overspend on scouts and analytics - I mentioned earlier this week that the hiring of former Twins GM Terry Ryan as a scout shows their financial commitment in that area. 

Spending internationally was another area they could have spent money that teams like the Pirates and Marlins and Rays cannot. That opportunity has now passed and the Phillies are in the same situation as any other team with a ceiling in the $5 million range.  It looks like teams can still trade to increase their total, but that’s not going to help much.

No 26th-Man on the Roster in exchange for a reduction in expanded active roster limits for September

--no specific effect on the Phillies

More Off Days In The Schedule

The baseball season will now have four extra off days, which means the season will start four days earlier.  How does that affect the Phillies? They play their home games in March. Enough said.

Increased Minimum Salary

--no specific effect on the Phillies

Changes to Drug and Domestic Violence Policies

--no specific effect on the Phillies

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