Dodgers Wait For Collective Bargaining Agreement

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire on December 1, the Dodgers are forced to wait and see what the new version brings.

2016 marks the end of MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). To those unfamiliar, the CBA is basically the law of the land within the MLB. Sam Miller from Baseball Prospectus says the CBA “does what Congress and the Supreme Court have each opted not to do, defining in clear and unbreakable ways what is and isn’t legal in this $9 billion industry.”

The CBA is a big deal. The current CBA added the extra wild card spot, moved the Astros to the American League, and established the Qualifying Offer. This year brings new chalellenges. Owners are pushing for an international draft while the players are trying to remove the Qualifying Offer and increase the luxury tax threshold/

Until the new CBA is installed, the Dodgers will likely hold off on major winter moves.

And that could end up being a while.

Ken Rosenthal reported that “owners will consider voting to lock out the players if the two sides cannot reach a new collective-bargaining agreement by the time the current deal expires on Dec. 1.”

21 years of labor peace might be in jeopardy.

The owners biggest desire is to implement an international draft. This would help small market teams like the Rays, Pirates, and Twins compete for international talent. Currently, the teams with the most money end up in much better positions to land star caliber talent from outside the United States. The small restrictions put on signings haven’t stopped teams from splurging or going over the allotted bonus pools.

The players are adamantly against the draft. Not only would the draft be difficult to implement (would Japanese players be included even though they have their own professional league?), but it also limits the earning potential of future major league players.

The owners have countered with the idea of removing the Qualifying Offer system in exchange for the international draft. But Jeff Passan notes that “the union appears to be taking a hard line on that particular issue [international draft].”

And if these problems don’t pose enough of a challenge, the players also want the luxury tax threshold to be increased. With an increased luxury tax, teams would be able to spend more money on free agents without incurring the penalties like the Dodgers are currently facing.

So what does all this mean? Well, on December 1, the current CBA is set to expire. That doesn’t mean that without an agreement all hell will break lose. A potential lock out by the owners is possible, but the most meaningful and impending impact could be the loss of the Winter Meetings.

The Winter Meetings present a constant supply of activity for front offices. This early time in December is when the off season really gets going. Trades are proposed, discussed, and sometimes executed. And with these meetings potentially being unattended, it will delay the entire off season.

The Dodgers will be especially cautious until the new CBA is agreed on. With the Dodgers recently uncovered financial issues, don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers pump the brakes on off season trades and free agent signings until the new CBA is better understood.

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