As the clock neared midnight, Major League Baseball and the players union came to a tentative agreement, avoiding a potential lockout.
Less than four hours prior to the expiration of the current deal, and following days of negotiations, representatives of MLB owners and the Players Association came to terms on a five-year collective bargaining agreement. With the agreement yet to ratified by either side, precise stipulations are yet to be announced.
Among those changes announced the luxury tax threshold, which was the greatest obstacle of the negotiations, will rise from $185 million in 2016 to $195 million in 2017, and steadily elevating to $210 million in 2021, the final year of the pact, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark.
Four teams — Los Angeles Dodgers ($253.6 million), New York Yankees ($227.9), Boston Red Sox ($199.9) and Detroit Tigers ($200) — breached the threshold in 2016, according to Spotrac. The Dodgers, who had baseball’s highest payroll in 2015 as well, paid a luxury tax of $43 million a season ago.
All taxes collected are distributed equally to the 30 teams.
Along with luxury tax threshold increases, details that have emerged regarding the new agreement include roster expansion discussions and the handling of international free agency.
Deliberations involving the expansion of active rosters from 25 to 26, as well as September expansions, were put to rest. The two sides decided to not alter the current rules, keeping the active roster size at 25 and allowing all teams to expand their rosters to 40 in September, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
In a concession to reach an agreement by the Dec. 1, the league relinquished aspirations of an international player draft, according to Stark. Instead, teams will now have a hard cap of $5 million with which to sign international free agents..
The two sides also agreed on adjustments to be made to the process of qualifying offers. While exact changes are not yet known, the changes made will include changes to the sacrificing of compensatory draft picks by teams signing players who have received a qualifying offer from the player’s former team. Also, players will now be allowed to receive only one qualifying offer, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
Particulars of the agreement are expected to be sorted out in the coming days, with owners to be given a briefing regarding deal on Thursday, according to USA Today’s Bob Knightengale.