So Major League Baseball has a new agreement. Good for them. It covers quite a bit of material, so we here at the Lunatic Fringe wanted to break this down for you. So, from the MLB Press Release about the agreement, here’s a simple look into the discussions that went into the most notably peaceful labor negotiations that any sport has ever had:
A second Wild Card will be awarded to the Club in each league with the second-best overall record among Clubs that do not win a division. The two Wild Card Clubs will play a single Postseason game, the winner of which will advance to the Division Series.
The Owners: We need more money. Playoffs make money.
Players Association: The season’s way too long.
Owners: What if we add more playoff teams, but give them only one more game to play in?
Players: Sounds good to us!
A decision on adding two Wild Cards for 2012 will be made no later than March 1, 2012.
Owners: We’re a bureaucracy. We’ve only talked about adding new Wild Card teams for five years. Don’t rush us!
The Houston Astros will move to the American League West starting in 2013, creating two leagues of 15 Clubs each.
Owners: The leagues must be perfectly symmetrical.
Players: What about the designated hitter?
Owners: Except for that DH thing.
c. Starting in 2013, Interleague games will be played throughout the entire schedule, rather than exclusively in specific inter-league segments.
Owners: Interleague is great! Those Kansas City-Cincinnati series have been incredible. We should have them all season long.
Players: Aren’t you just justifying this because you have to do this with two leagues that have an odd number of teams?
Owners: What? No. Shut up!
d. Active Roster limits will be expanded to 26 for certain regular or split doubleheaders.
Players: We can’t keep letting fans call themselves ‘The 26th Man’. Why not give some player a new chance to be the 26th man, for just a day? Then they can be ‘former’ major leaguers. After all…
3. Article XX(B) free agents signing minor league contracts who are not added to the Opening Day roster or unconditionally released 5 days prior to Opening Day shall receive an additional $100,000 retention bonus and the right to opt out on June 1.
Players: this is only for ‘former major leaguers.‘ Even if they were one only for a day. Now they can get an extra $100K each for not making the major leagues ever again, every season!
Owners: $100K? That’s nothing. Sure, whatever.
1. Starting in 2012, “Type A” and “Type B” free agents and the use of the Elias ranking system will be eliminated.
Players: As a major industry, we’re pretty sure Typecasting is against the law, or the Constitution, or something.
Owners: Fine, whatever.
2. The current system of draft pick compensation will be replaced with the following system:
A. Only Players who have been with their Clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.
Players: You guys put all your chips into a midseason trade for a borderline big name, and then count on getting some draft picks as some sort of consolation prize. That’s not fair! Because if that borderline big name loses a million bucks a year off his contract because his new team will lose a draft pick, it’s just not plain fair.
Owners: And what about the team that guy didn’t help make the playoffs?
Players: You added more playoff teams, right? Problem solved!
B. A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former Club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid Players from the prior season.
Players: You know how much that ‘average salary’ is? $12.5 million. In other words, if some greedy team wants to get a draft pick, they have to risk paying a player nearly two-thirds of what Barry Zito makes in a season. That’ll teach ‘em teams for trying to get draft picks.
Brian Sabean: You know, I don’t like this idea…
Owners: Shut up, Brian. Stop giving away draft picks.
C. A Club that signs a player subject to compensation will forfeit its first round selection, unless it selects in the top 10, in which case it will forfeit its secondhighest selection in the draft.
D. The Player’s former Club will receive a selection at the end of the first round beginning after the last regularly scheduled selection in the round. The former Clubs will select based on reverse order of winning percentage from the prior championship season.
Players: Wait…so if a team signs a free agent, they can lose a first round pick. But the team that lost that player won’t get that pick, they get some created pick in what’s essentially the second round.
Players: That makes no sense.
Owners: You were expecting something else?
Players: Um…no, never mind. So what happens to those picks that get forfeited?
Owners: Wait for it….
e. Rule 4 Draft
3. Signing Bonus Pools…
(I’m not going to list all the rules. I want you to actually keep reading.)
Owners: Signing you guys costs way too much, when most minor leaguers never make the bigs!
Players: Signing those damn kids takes too much money away from what you pay us!
Future Draftees: Um, hello?
Owners: How about we cap what draftees can make?
Players: Sure! And if you go over, you draft even less draftees that you have to pay with our money!
Future Draftees: Can we have a lawyer? Please?
Future Draftees: A phone call? Anything? Hello?
4. Draft picks that are forfeited by Clubs will be awarded to other Clubs through a lottery in which a Club’s odds of winning will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage and its prior season’s revenue. Only Clubs that do not exceed their Signing Bonus Pools are eligible for the lottery.
Owners: Hey, you know that NBA lottery thing? That’s cool! How can we do that?
Players: Lotteries? Isn’t that like gambling?
Owners: Sure, I guess.
Players (among themselves): Agree to it. Maybe someday we can get them to ban themselves like Pete Rose.
5. Competitive Balance Lottery
A. For the first time, Clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets will have an opportunity to obtain additional draft picks through a lottery.
B. The ten Clubs with the lowest revenues, and the ten Clubs in the smallest markets, will be entered into a lottery for the six draft selections immediately following the completion of the first round of the draft. A Club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage.
C. The eligible Clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, and all other payee Clubs under the Revenue Sharing Plan, will be entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the completion of the second round of the draft. A Club’s odds of winning the lottery will be based on its prior season’s winning percentage.
Owners: Lotteries, lotteries, lotteries, lotteries….
Players: Dude…can we move on?
D. Picks awarded in the Competitive Balance Lottery may be assigned by a Club, subject to certain restrictions.
Owners: Oh, and ‘May be assigned’ = Traded.
Everyone: Wait, WHAT?
f. International Talent Acquisition
2. For the 2012-13 signing season, each Club will be allocated an equal Signing Bonus Pool.
3. For each signing period after 2012-13, Clubs will be allocated different Signing Bonus Pools, based on reverse order of winning percentage the prior championship season (i.e., the Club with the lowest winning percentage the prior season shall receive the largest Pool).
Owners: Well, if we can’t salary cap you guys…we sure as hell will cap everyone you don’t represent.
Players: Look, this is fine, but you can’t be too unfair to these guys from other countries. There was this movie, Sugar…
6. The Office of the Commissioner and the Union will form a joint committee to assist international players with their transition to educational/vocational programs after their baseball careers are over.
Players: That’s more like it. And vague enough to not mean anything. Done!
b. The fifteen Clubs in the largest markets will be disqualified from receiving revenue sharing by 2016.
Steinbrenner: Look, it’s getting pretty damn lonely being in the ‘Not paying luxury tax Club.’ All we’ve got to hang out with is the Red Sox. And those guys are annoying. Can’t pronounce R’s and everything. Can we force others to join our club?
Players: Like we care what you do?
a. Players, managers, and coaches will be prohibited from using smokeless tobacco during televised interviews and Club appearances.
Owners: Smokeless tobacco is bad. You have to stop doing it.
Players: How about if we agree to not to do it for about 15 minutes a day, and hide it from everyone? Like how we did with steroids for decades?
d. By 2013, all Major League players will wear a new batting helmet developed by Rawlings that protects against pitches thrown at 100 miles per hour. The new version of the helmet is significantly less “bulky” than prior versions of the more protective helmet.
Owners: We promise, you won’t look too much like the Great Gazoo.
Commencing in Spring Training 2012, all players will be subject to hGH blood testing for reasonable cause at all times during the year. In addition, during each year, all players will be tested during Spring Training.
Owners: Hey, remember that thing you said about the steroids?
Players: Yea? Oh…$#!&…
a. Participation in the All-Star Game will be required unless the Player is unable to play due to injury or is otherwise excused by the Office of the Commissioner. Players Trust will receive an increased contribution and players will receive additional benefits.
Owners: It counts?
Owners: It counts!
b. All Players will be subject to a policy governing the use of Social Media.
Owners: Hey, remember Ashton Kutcher?
Owners: Don’t be him.
f. Instant Replay will be expanded to include fair/foul and “trapped” ball plays, subject to the Office of the Commissioner’s discussions with the World Umpires Association.
Players: You know, everyone in the world thinks that Instant Replay is a good idea.
Owners: Yea…hey, shouldn’t we involve the umpires in this discussion?
Players: Well, yea, I suppose…but we couldn’t get in touch with them. We have no idea where they are.
<Meanwhile, a faint banging can be heard from somewhere. A broom closet, or maybe a car trunk.>
h. The parties agreed to an improved process for challenging official scorer decisions.
Owners: Well, I think we’re all done here.
Players: I agree. This was great.
Armando Galarraga: Hey, um…I have a suggestion?