CBA Notes: Arbitration, Waivers, Schedule, PED Testing, Minor League Salary

MLB and MLBPA finally reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, ending a contentious lockout that lasted more than three months. Major elements of the deal, such as CBT levels and the bonus pool for players eligible for arbitration, were flagged as negotiations progressed, but some of the minor details are still trickling out. . MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand revealed one such detail on Twitterwriting that “From 2022, players eligible for salary arbitration who settle with their teams a salary for the following season without attending a hearing will be eligible to receive a full end-of-season indemnity, even if they are released before the start of the season.”

This is a small change that could potentially have big ramifications. Under the previous CBA, arbitration contracts were not fully secured until opening day, with players cut during spring training earning only part of the agreed salary. If a team released a player more than 15 days before opening day, they only had to pay the player 30 days’ wages as severance pay. If the player was released less than 15 days before the opening day, he would receive 45 days’ salary.

This makes an interesting compromise. On the one hand, this could be seen as a gain for the players, as they now have access to greater security, knowing that the salary they accept will be locked in once they accept it. But it also incentivizes them to accept terms without a hearing, which perhaps leads them to accept lower terms than they would otherwise have won, which benefits teams. It’s well established that teams place a high priority on stifling wages whenever possible. In 2019, it was revealed that MLB holds an annual symposium where the team that is most successful in opposing players in arbitration is awarded a wrestling-style championship belt, which surely didn’t help. the animosity that has persisted between the players and the league since the signing of the last CBA. This wrinkle in the new CBA could help teams achieve those goals, but could at least give some non-bid borderline candidates the silver lining of greater financial security.

Elsewhere in the ABC, Jayson Stark of The Athletic provides an interesting nugget on Twitter. “If a team has already claimed a player once on waivers that season, they cannot claim them again until all other teams have passed.” Stark aptly refers to this as the “Jacob Nottingham Rule’, in reference to Nottingham being the centerpiece of a hot potato game between the Brewers and Mariners last year. Starting the season with the Brewers, the receiver was placed on waivers in April, claimed by the Mariners, who released him on waivers in May. The Brewers brought him back on a waiver request, only to send him back to the waiver wire two weeks later. On May 20, Seattle claimed him again, before putting him back on the line in early June, when he finally cleared. The priority of waiver requests generally goes in reverse order of the current ranking. (For the first 31 days of the season, the previous season’s standings are used.) In the case of Nottingham, there would have been teams who never even had a chance to claim it for most of this last sequence. year, because it would have been picked up before their turn. Going forward, they will be more likely to break up such a unique back-and-forth that happened with Nottingham last year.

In one detailed column about the ABC, Stark adds some details about the schedule changes that will begin in 2023. While it was previously reported that the teams would play the other 29 teams in the league each year, the number of divisional games being reduced, the details were not known at the time. Stark outlines the format that will begin next year, with each team playing their division rivals 14 times per season, up from 19, for a total of 56. Teams in the same league but not the same division will be played six times each, a total of 60. When it comes to interleague play, each team has a “rival” they will face four times, with three games against the other 14 teams in the opposite league. This equates to 46 interleague games in total. All of these categories are evenly split between road and home, except for the last one. In the case of the 14 non-rival teams that are in the opposing league, the home team for the three-game series will alternate from year to year.

MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko has some more details in his ABC preview. Regarding DEPs, he says, “there will be an increase in the number of in-season urine tests for performance-enhancing substances and drugs of abuse, as well as adjustments to the scheduling of these tests to make them less predictable.” He then adds that “the program will now use dried blood spot tests rather than venous blood samples for hGH testing, making Major League Baseball the first professional sports drug testing program to adopt this new technology.”

Finally, while raising the minimum wage for MLB players has been flagged throughout negotiations, there is also a bump for some underage players. From Kubatko: “The minor league minimum wage for players signing a second major league contract or having previously served in the big leagues will increase from $93,000 in 2021 to $114,100 in 2022, $117,400 in 2023, $120,600 $ in 2024, $123,900 in 2025 and $127,100 in 2026.”

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