The first question I had, after being thrilled to hear MLB’s owners and players had settled their differences Thursday, was: Why is it only a five-year agreement?
It means we have to go through this all over again in just five years. Length of agreement must have been a point of disagreement in itself, one guesses.
I imagine the two sides deciding if the agreed-upon aspects of the new CBA need tweaking or fine-tuning, five years is a reasonable term in which to see whether the rule changes worked well enough.
Being thankful for small favors seems like the way to go here. Let’s just be glad to have baseball back.
The ability for clubs to sign free agents was to have started at 7 p.m. Thursday, once the owners had ratified the new CBA. But there were no reports the Orioles had made offers to any free agent, and nothing new on the previous rumors that they were interested in shortstop Carlos Correa, whom Executive VP and General Manager Mike Elias scouted and is credited with drafting in 2012 for the Astros.
A free agent who is expensive is not consistent with a rebuild, but monitoring it wouldn’t hurt. The free agent floodgates were expected to open soon, with so many on the market when the lockout began.
Floodgates may be too strong a term, but with the spring training mandatory reporting date for players on the 40-man roster being Sunday, there’s lots to be done by Opening Day on April 7. That applies to every team.
‘Trey Mancini, John Means and Tanner Scott were the Orioles’ tendered contracts before the lockout occurred, and they must reach an agreement on new deals for the 2022 season.
Jordan Lyles can take his physical and sign the $7 million contract the Orioles offered him. There’s just no knowing what other free agents Elias has his eye on – and can afford. No rumors have found the light of day yet.
Being thankful for small favors means ignoring the lies that were told during the talks, such as the one where MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred put down deadline after deadline for being able to play a full 162-game schedule, then blowing through each deadline but still announcing the season would be 162 games.
In the minds of many, the real crux of the matter was starting the season by April 15, which is Jackie Robinson Day throughout the Major Leagues – the anniversary of Robinson’s first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers. That’s what really drove the settlement.
The pitch clock is one aspect of the new CBA that is aimed at shortening games. Pitchers will have 14 seconds to throw with the bases empty, 19 when there are runners on base.
That, larger bases and a ban on the shift will take effect in 2023 with 45 days’ notice, according to reports. The new size of the bases is probably subject to agreement, but no one knows what that size will be.
The amount of notice required used to be a year, and it’s not clear what the difference is. If they announce the changes are taking place next year, that’s already a year’s notice.
But again, small favors. At least the two sides put a pitch clock on the negotiations, and they’ll play ball on time.
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