With the current CBA set to expire in a few days, an impressive run at peace may come to an end.
Once the clock strikes midnight and the calendar rolls over to December 1st, MLB could come face to face with the first lockout in over two decades. Everyone continues to ride the high from one of the greatest World Series’ of all time just a month ago. So, a lockout would destroy that feeling. However, other situations outside of a lockout can occur. The MLB and MLBPA could continue to operate under the current/old CBA until a new one is agreed upon. Only time will tell what route baseball will head for, so lets talk about the tipping points. How will the key topics in negotiation affect the Cardinals?
Free Agent draft pick compensation continues on be one of the bigger issues with the negotiations.
Under the Current CBA, if a Free Agent rejects a qualifying offer, that player enters free agency. If said player signs with a team other than his original team, the team gains a draft pick in between rounds 1 and 2. Meanwhile the signing team loses their highest draft pick. The MLBPA strongly opposes the forfeiting of draft picks for signing big name free agents. With the added baggage of a lost draft pick attached to some free agents, it dampens the pulling power that they poses in negotiations. Smaller market teams that do not often go for big name free agents are more in favor of the current process since it allows them to compete in a different way.
So far, the Cardinals were not affected by the current CBA. The Cardinals have not signed a player that was extended a qualifying offer nor did they extend one. Also, being a large market team, they are not largely affected by the forfeiture of a pick due to having the financial means to remedy themselves via the free agent market.
How can both sides come to an agreement? One way would be to eliminate the forfeiture of a pick but maintain the compensation. This would allow for the free agents to get what they are totally worth without the weight of a draft pick holding them down. With the maintaining of compensation, teams that are unable to keep their big name players consistently can still maintain a competitive edge.
International Draft anyone?
In recent years, MLB teams have spent ludicrous amounts of money on top players from around the world. Even with hefty fines for going over their allotted bonus pool amount, teams have continued to spend more and more money. In order to save their wallets from themselves, the owners have proposed an international draft similar to the Rule 4 draft in finical aspects. Unsurprisingly, the MLBPA has been hugely opposed to this implementation. With a draft, any international player would only be allowed to negotiate with the one team that drafted him. This limits his negotiating power to essentially nothing. Especially if the player is not coming from a popular professional league already.
The Cardinals have been very active in the international market and would benefit greatly from the international draft. It would allow for the Cardinals to sign more international players for less money. Essentially a more bang for your buck situation if the draft goes through. However, several international players are opposed to this deal as well. No obvious solution to this problem presents itself.
The Billionaires vs the Millionaires.
The worst thing that could possibly happen in the next few days is a work stoppage. It would change the focus from a miracle Cubs WS win to an outlook of greed. MLB and the MLBPA should remember that the fans will not take kindly to another 1994 experience. Not saying that this will be as detrimental to the sport. But, if the two sides do not think of the fans, things will not end well.
Photo courtesy Charles LeClaire USA Today