Minor Agreements, Consistent Issues Persist

2-10-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

Well, as expected Rob Manfred spoke to the media today and some news came out of it that we should discuss along with more anticipated posturing that I also suppose we should have expected. So let’s go through what’s agreed upon, and talk about what this means.

The Designated Hitter is Now Universal

The DH is now agreed upon by both sides. Now, this really shouldn’t surprise you, it was as anticipated as whomever you vote for letting you down. I never rooted for this change, but I did stop fighting it. The game was headed in this direction and while one of the claims they’ll make is that this protects pitchers, I can’t recall many injuries from hitting or running the bases. Not enough to organically change the game anyhow.

It changes the strategy of the National League game, and honestly could potentially open the door for realignment one day. No longer will we see AL lineups with DH players trying to play the field in NL parks.

I guess if given the choice, I’d have chosen the other direction, but I didn’t get that opportunity, and although it was only 60 games, I guess I can admit it grew on me in 2020.

Elimination of Compensation Picks

Another major concession was the announcement that the sides have agreed there will no longer be Compensation picks for free agents who get signed.

Now, for those of you who don’t know this even happens, there has been a rule if you keep a player until his contract expires and he’s of high enough quality you would receive a comp pick for the player signing elsewhere. This was supposed to incentivise teams to retain players instead of dumping them at the deadline, and help teams recover more quickly from losing an important player.

If you think it doesn’t matter, I suppose I could dig through the list of comp picks that have made it to the league, but I’ll just say Ke’Bryan Hayes is one, good enough?

Draft Lottery

Here’s another concession by the league, and this one most of you NHL and NBA fans are already familiar with. We weren’t provided with the framework, in other words we don’t know if it’s the first 10 picks, or the first 3, but we do know that the reality of this change is little more than lip service. If your goal is to be a bad team and get a top pick, trust me when I say you just want to be on the top of the board, and this won’t change that.

So We’re Close to An Agreement Then?

Ha, no. That’s it really. That’s what has been agreed upon and the two sides are supposed to meet again on Saturday. It was expected that the league would announce the moving back of Spring Training but instead Manfred said he was optimistic the two sides would come together and the season wouldn’t be effected.

I’m not being original here as I’ve already seen several people say the same thing, but this is clearly an effort to prevent the league from accepting full blame for it, instead they’ll present their latest proposal and at least aim to share blame with the players.

I mean, lets be real clear here, the players want no competitive balance tax or minimally an increase of close to 40 million and they’d like the league to drastically cut back on revenue sharing. The league is absolutely not going to do either of those things. In other words, it’s very clear Rob’s optimism is false.

It is what it is folks.

Thing is, I think the league could raise the luxury tax by 30 million and it might cause 3 maybe 4 teams to spend more money. Maybe it’s one more player for each.

I don’t feel we’re closer, but I do have some fears.

Could This League Actually Get More Imbalanced?

Well, let’s put it this way, yesterday Rob Manfred provided these 3 things the two sides have agreed on and two of them directly affect small market clubs. To a degree, there almost has to be something the small markets have fought for in exchange that we haven’t heard yet, because if all that’s coming is what we’ve seen plus the Luxury Tax increasing along with base salaries, this deal will do little more than make a daunting task even more daunting.

Rob Manfred acknowledged that these two agreements were hard to get past member clubs, and it shouldn’t shock you that the opposing clubs are the Orioles and Pirates of the world.

Again, I expect this proposal on Saturday to be just about universally rejected by the players despite the new agreed upon content. This will make the shortening of Spring Training the next step. Players have long complained that Spring Training was as long as it is anyhow so don’t expect any real pressure to be felt until it threatens regular season games.

Bottom line though, yes, it really could get worse for small market clubs. That said, if it does, they have nobody to blame but themselves. My dad always told me if you want to get walked all over, act like a doormat.

More to come after I digest what comes of Saturday.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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