There is labor peace in Major League Baseball. There was a time when that was not close to true, but now it is. Since April, 1995 there has been one work stoppage in the National Football League, two in the National Hockey League and three in the National Basketball Association. During that time span, there were none in MLB.
The players and owners obviously don’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but they both realize that the sport overall is incredibly healthy and it is now a business that produces over $9 billion annually in revenue.
It is a sport where players can earn $200 million contracts and owners can enjoy big revenue from local and national television contracts, while also watching the turnstiles spin. But soon MLB will be working under a new collective bargaining agreement. The current one expires Dec. 1, 2016 and early next year the negotiations should begin on the next CBA.
In this incredibly thorough article by ESPN’s Jayson Stark, he takes a look at some issues sure to come up, including the schedule, an international draft, qualifying offers and roster size.
A few quick thoughts on some issues facing the sport:
Will the 162-game schedule get reduced?: Some feel baseball should return to playing a 154-game schedule and that the World Series should not run into November. Starks writes that less daily pounding on players and fewer games with more off-days could reduce wear and tear on the players and the expense of ownership spending half-billion dollar salaries while players are on disabled lists.
To me, baseball is a long grind and reducing that grind by a few games would not produce the desired effect. But yeah, there is no reason to play World Series games in November.
The international draft: Stark writes that commissioner Rob Manfred is a fan of the international draft, but it seems like it would be very difficult to actually implement one. My take is MLB will not be able to resolve enough issues to have an international draft just yet.
However, there is unfairness in that a youngster that is 16 from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela could sign a pro contract worth potentially millions, while a kid from the United States can’t turn pro until his high school class has graduated.
Roster size: Stark writes about a thought where MLB could expand roster sizes to 27 or 28, but each team would designate 25 to be active each night. I don’t believe that would really change much, as teams would just make inactive their most recent starting pitchers who they would not use anyway.
Perhaps MLB needs to look at roster size for September games. Either reduce the September limit to something less than 40 players and/or implement the 25-man active roster limit for September games. Teams could call up players beyond the limit of 25, but only 25 could be active each game. Orioles manager Buck Showalter would be a fan of this. He feels September games are managed differently due to the expanded roster sizes.