If lockdown makes baseball better, it will have been worth it

The decline in the earning power of middle players – solid veterans whose production could perhaps be replaced by a rookie – could be acc...


The decline in the earning power of middle players – solid veterans whose production could perhaps be replaced by a rookie – could be accelerated in this agreement. There are always unintended consequences. But there seem to be some aspects that are sure to improve the game.

Teams often hold top prospects in the minors in an effort to squeeze an extra year of service time out of them before they reach free agency. Now, if a player places in the top two when voting for Rookie of the Year, they get a full year of service, regardless of when they were promoted. It’s just. The same goes for limits on the number of times a player can be picked in a season, and the $50 million merit-based bonus pool to distribute to players who are not yet eligible. to arbitration.

The owners pushed for an international draft, a complex issue that several Latin American players, like San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., passionately opposed. It took a while, but the league reasonably agreed to let the union study the matter and decide by the end of July, tying its passage to the elimination of the qualifying offer, a restriction on free agency.

Most encouraging, perhaps: the creation in 2023 of a joint committee, including four active players, one umpire, and six MLB selectees, to consider rule changes like larger bases, a pitch clock, terrain changes and the automatic strike zone. The committee can decide on a rule change and implement it within 45 days – again, a sensible solution that gives players a voice in their workplace rules.

There are other logical wrinkles, like the universal designated hitter (nobody wants their favorite pitcher to get hurt swinging a bat or running the bases) and a lottery for the top six draft spots, so the same team cannot guarantee themselves the first choice by remaining ugly for several years.

The uniform advertising is tacky, and we’ll have to see how the expanded playoff field pans out in practice; from here, 12 teams seems too many. But if it all combines to make the game better, the acrimony will have been worth it. The league and the players gave themselves a chance to restore baseball’s position in the national psyche. Please don’t blow it up.

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Newsrust - US Top News: If lockdown makes baseball better, it will have been worth it
If lockdown makes baseball better, it will have been worth it
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