As you probably know, the players and owners reached an agreement which will keep baseball as we know it going for another five years. After much talk, the agreement looks very much like the one that has been in play the past five seasons. There are a few changes, a few which could affect the Cardinals going forward.
Qualifying Offer System
The offer system is unchanged, but what happens after that is different, per AP:
Under the new rules, a player can receive a qualifying offer only once in his career and will have 10 days to consider it instead of seven. A club signing a player who declined a qualifying offer would lose its third-highest amateur draft pick if it is a revenue-sharing receiver, its second- and fifth-highest picks (plus a loss of $1 million in its international draft pool) if it pays luxury tax for the just-ended season, and its second-highest pick (plus $500,000 in the international draft pool) if it is any other team.
A club losing a free agent who passed up a qualifying offer would receive an extra selection after the first round of the next draft if the player signed a contract for $50 million or more and after competitive balance round B if under $50 million. However, if that team pays luxury tax, the extra draft pick would drop to after the fourth round.
How this affects the Cardinals:
The Cardinals have avoided players who come with qualifying offer compensation, specifically targeting players who are available without compensation. These rules don’t go into place for the current class, but having a lower draft pick given up—second round generally based on the above description—would presumably alleviate some of the concerns Cardinals have on the best free agents.
To add to the AP piece, we have this:
If you fall into neither the revenue-sharing payee nor luxury-tax payor camps and lose QO guy at $50M+, you get a pick after the 2nd round.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 1, 2016
The Cardinals are not a poor team, relatively speaking, and they aren’t likely to pay the luxury tax, which means that if they lose a player, they get a pick after the second round instead of the first. The Cardinals have done extremely well getting compensatory picks and those will now be less valuable.
From the AP:
The luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020 and $210 million in 2021.
Tax rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent for first offenders, remain at 30 percent for second offenders and rise from 40 percent to 50 percent for third offenders. There is a new surtax of 12 percent for teams $20 million to $40 million above the threshold, 42.5 percent for first offenders more than $40 million above the threshold and 45 percent for subsequent offenders more than $40 million above. And special transition rates will be used for 2017.
How it affects the Cardinals:
It really doesn’t a whole lot. Even if the Cardinals had a few massive increases in payroll, they likely wouldn’t get over the tax, and even if they did, the tax doesn’t get too heavy until $240 or $250 million. If you are worried about the Cubs and Dodgers outspending the Cardinals by a ton, this helps some as once you get over $40 million above the cap, the penalties are roughly dollar for dollar.
There will now be a hard cap and various sources are reporting a few different things, which MLB Trade Rumors tries to sum up, here. In essence, there will be a harder cap around $5 million where trading of money is possible.
How if Affects the Cardinals:
The bonus pool situation the CBA just went through was really stupid so almost anything would be an improvement. Capping money is also stupid, but the cap is likely to be higher than the Cardinals bonus pool situation over the past few years. The Cardinals went over their cap this time around and the penalties (no players above $300k for two years) will carry over. This change does little for the Cardinals, but the team has done very well internationally of late and this isn’t likely to affect that.
According to Jeff Passan and Ken Rosenthal, the market performance multipliers are going away (explanation of them here). All teams participate in revenue sharing, but in addition, the biggest markets pay even more in, like the Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox, and small market teams like the Pirates, Brewers, and Rays receive more money.
How it Affects the Cardinals:
This is one of the bigger aspects of the new CBA that seems to have been gone under-reported. It will put more money in the pockets of teams like the Cubs and take it away from other NL Central rivals. The Cardinals sat squarely in the middle and did not pay out or receive money from these funds, but it could well cancel out the affects of a more strict luxury tax for teams wanting to go a little bit over.
- Best record will decide home field advantage in the World Series
- A 10-day DL replaces 15-day DL which could lead to some manipulations but also could help get more healthy rosters.
- A few more off-days beginning in 2018 as the season starts earlier
- Small minimum salary raises
- Rosters stay the same (no 26-man roster or alteration in September
- No more chewing tobacco for incoming players. Current players can keep on chewing, somewhat similar to Ozzie Smith wearing a batting helmet without an earflap for a weirdly long time.