11/22 Highlights from new CBA

Here are some of the highlights of the labor agreement announced today between MLB and the MLB Players Association:

* A second Wild Card team will be added to both leagues in either 2012 or 2013. The two Wild Card teams will have a one-game playoff, with the winner moving on to the Division Series.

* In 2013, the Astros will move to the American League. This will give each league 15 teams, split into three five-team divisions. As a result of the uneven numbers, Interleague play will take place all year.

* Active rosters will be expanded from 25 to 26 players for certain regular or split doubleheaders.

* Beginning in 2012, there will no longer be any designated Type A or Type B free agents. There will be a new Draft pick compensation system.

* The cutoff for Super Two arbitration-eligible players has expanded, meaning more players will be eligible for arbitration that extra season.

* The minimum salary for Major League and Minor League players will increase. The Major League minimum will be $414,000 in 2012. By 2014, that minimum salary will be $500,000.

* The signing deadline for players taken in the First-Year Player Draft has been moved up. It will now fall between July 12-18, depending on the date of the All-Star Game.

* There will be a tax for teams who spend too much on players taken in the Draft. Each pick in the first 10 rounds of the Draft will be assigned a value each year, and a club’s “signing bonus pool” will equal the sum of all their picks in those first 10 rounds. If a club exceeds their own signing bonus pool, they will incur a tax and/or loss of future Draft picks (depending on how much over the team is).

* Any picks that are forfeited by teams that spend too much will then be distributed through a lottery to teams that complied. A team’s odds of winning that pick in the lottery will be based on their previous year’s winning percentage and previous season’s revenue.

* There is the addition of a new competitive balance lottery, which appears to be something that will help small market teams. The 10 clubs with the lowest revenue and the 10 clubs in the smallest markets will be entered into a lottery for six Draft picks that will come immediately after the first round of the Draft. A club’s odds of getting one of those six picks is based on the team’s winning percentage from the previous year. The worse the winning percentage, the better the odds.

* The teams that do not win one of those six lottery picks go into another lottery, that also includes all other teams, for six Draft picks that will then come right after the second round.

* As for international signings, each team will be given an equal signing bonus pool for the 2012-13 signing period. After this next year, the signing bonus pool a team gets will be determined based on winning percentage. In other words. the club with the lowest winning percentage will be able to spend the most on International signings.

* Beginning in 2013-14, clubs will be allowed to trade part of their signing bonus pool. If a team spends more than its signing bonus pool allows, that club will incur a tax and restrictions on who the team can sign the next year.

* Players, managers and coaches will not be allowed to use smokeless tobacco during televised interviews or appearances. Tobacco products may not be carried by players/coaches in their pockets when fans are present in a stadium.

* Beginning in Spring Training, all players will be subject to HGH blood testing. All players will be tested every Spring Training and players are subject to unannounced testing during the offseason.

* Participation in the All-Star Game is mandatory unless a player is unavailable due to injury or has his excuse approved by the Commissioner’s office.

* Instant replay may be expanded to include fair/foul and trapped ball plays.

— Carrie Muskat

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