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Previewing MLB’s new labor agreement

Though its announcement is expected early in the week, some of the key components of the new agreement between Major League Baseball players and owners have begun to be divulged.

Following is a summary of some of the key elements as reported by AP, the New York Times, FOX Sports and other sources.

Free agent compensation

Type A free agents – 2011 – The group of eligible players will be pared back to just the top stars, while players like relievers will be excluded from requiring compensation. The lists are yet to be disclosed.

Type A free agents – 2012 and beyond – The Elias Rating system will be scrapped. Clubs must have made a “qualifying offer” of at least $12.4 million on a one-year contract to receive compensation if a player later signs elsewhere. The qualifying amount increases in later years.

Type B free agents that generate a compensatory sandwich pick will be eliminated.

Draft and international players

A spending cap on amateur player spending will be put in place. A maximum amount that teams can spend on both draft picks and international free agents will be established. Clubs will be penalized from 75 percent to 100 percent or potentially even lose future first- and second-round draft picks if they excessively exceed the limit.


The minimum Major League salary will jump from $414,000 to $480,000 initially, and to $500,000 over the life of the five-year agreement.


The percentage of “Super Two” players eligible for arbitration between their second and third years of service time will be increased from the top 17 percent of players to 22 percent.


Human Growth Hormone blood testing will begin in February, with penalties the same as for steroids today.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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17 Responses to “Previewing MLB’s new labor agreement”

  1. blingboy says:

    So the Cards get rooked. No compensation pick for Dotel?

    • blingboy says:

      Or do we still get a pick, but the signing team doesn’t lose one?

    • Brian Walton says:

      The Cards surely weren’t going to offer Dotel arbitration anyway. Unless he signed early, no pick.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I read the fine print and I think the Cards will receive a sandwich pick if/when Dotel signs elsewhere and they don’t have to offer him arbitration. As part of the special deals they made for this year only, Dotel is one of a group of relievers that moved from Type A to Type B. Apparently their former clubs receive a guaranteed supplemental pick in return for having lost the opportunity to collect two picks when the players were Type A. Everyone wins.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    A world cap on bonuses for amateurs is a huge win for teams. The Union will concede on this, because amateurs are not yet part of the Union!
    A cap will enable teams to cut back on generous signing bonuses in the competitive international talent market, because if a team spends too much in Latin America, it will not have bonus money to sign US amateurs.
    An international “draft” might be hard to arrange, because this might violate foreign laws. However, US teams can agree among themselves to cap their amateur signing bonuses and keep the agreement “inside the US.” MLB can achieve the effect of an international draft, restraining competition for players, but do this in an indirect way, via a bonus cap. Clever.

  3. Nutlaw says:

    While I’m not thrilled at all to see Type A and B free agents disappear entirely, getting rid of middle relievers with Type A status alone is nearly worth it.

  4. Kansasbirdman says:

    I’m going to need a tutorial

  5. crdswmn says:

    Some likes: HGH testing, tobacco policy, mandatory All Star game participation.

    Some dislikes: Astros to AL/Expanded Interleague play, Expanded playoffs, expanded instant replay (I’ll be in the minority here I’d bet)

    I’d like to know details of the Social Media policy. Will we have the @LoLoMarlins rule-say nothing but banalities on Twitter or get sent to the minors?

  6. CariocaCardinal says:

    Is STL one of the 10 smallest markets?

  7. blingboy says:

    Saw this bit of analysis somewhere, forgot to note the source sorry.

    . . . if teams are restricted in the amount they can invest in amateur and international players, clubs will be left with little choice but to spend more on major leaguers . . . . . . . The union agreed to the new rules . . .

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