Major League Baseball and its players have reached a new collective bargaining agreement, ending concerns that a labor dispute could disrupt what has been a successful year for America’s original favorite pastime.
The two sides reached an agreement late Wednesday, just hours before the deadline, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported.
The five-year deal is still subject to ratification by the owners and the players’ union. Specific terms of the contract have not yet been released, as the league explained the “parties continue to draft the entirety of the tentative agreement.”
The league dropped its plan to institute an international draft, and will institute a spending cap on international players (set around $5-6 million per team for international signings, according to MLB Insider Jon Heyman).
The players were vehemently opposed to an international draft, and when the league dropped the plan from negotiations, it became possible to reach an agreement before Wednesday night’s deadline.
The new agreement includes a provision that the All-Star game will no longer determine home field advantage for the World Series. The team with the better record will have the advantage in the fall classic. The league is also looking to include additional international games in places including Mexico City and London. (RELATED: Major League Baseball Lockout Is Possible Ahead Of Deadline)
The Associated Press reported that the league’s minimum time on a disabled list will go from 15 to 10 days.
The league will no longer require teams to forfeit its first round draft pick as part of free agent compensation. The draft pick will come out of lower rounds, according to the MLB Network.
The league experienced steady attendance figures, solid ratings and a thrilling playoff race in 2016, a welcomed change of pace from the “steroids” era. While the league was once synonymous with labor unrest, the past 20 years have been smooth on the labor front. The new deal ensures another five years of tranquility.
MLB revenues are at a record level, and team values are soaring. A potential lockout could have disrupted what may be another golden era for baseball.
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