Report: MLB players, owners near deal

BY foxsports • November 14, 2011

Baseball players and owners have moved closer to an agreement on a five-year labor contract that would institute new restraints on what teams can pay amateur draft picks.

The sides met Monday and still had some details remaining to reach an agreement, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side was commenting publicly.

The agreement, which would replace the one expiring Dec. 11, would add thresholds for spending by a team each year on selections in the June amateur draft, as well make changes to the luxury tax and revenue sharing.

There would be progressive penalties for teams whose total spending on draft picks exceed the threshold, similar to the luxury-tax concept on high payrolls that has been part of baseball's labor contracts since the 2003 season.

Commissioner Bud Selig has wanted to rein in draft spending. Teams proposed a slotting system of fixed bonuses, but players were reluctant to agree to any caps.

In addition, small- and medium-revenue teams have complained that high-spending teams such as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have priced them out of the top international amateur players. That matter could be sent to a study committee, a second person briefed on talks said, also on condition of anonymity.

As part of an agreement, the percentage of major league free agents subject to the highest form of draft-pick compensation will be reduced, an incentive for teams to sign more free agents. Currently, the top 20 percent of free agents according to a statistical formula are designated ''Type A,'' and teams that sign them can lose their first-round selection in the following amateur draft.

The sides were expected to continue talks by telephone Tuesday and Wednesday, then resume in-person negotiations at the end of the week.



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