Fixing the MLB Free Acency and CBA issues

It is very obvious with the way that this off-season has been as far as free agent signings, that there is something seriously broken with the was that the player compensation situation has been at the MLB.

Up until very recently the MLB players were compensated for what they did, vs. what they were expected to do in their future contracts.  This has led to monster 10 year contracts for 30+ year old players who were impossible to live to the expectations.  It has also led to poverty-level wages for a whole bunch of players, in the minor leagues, with no minimum minor league contract levels, a five- to six-year control of players as minor leaguers, and an additional 6 years of team control (the last through arbitration) at the major league level.  So a player who was drafted as a 21 year old in college, could be after 5 years of control in the minors making a pittance, and 3 years of control in the majors making the minimum (which is a pretty nice $600K or so), before hoping to increase that in his age 29 through 31 seasons via an arbitration, and then hitting it big via free agency.  

However, with the increase of analytically-based GMs and Front Offices, there is the realization that ages 32+ usually represent the declining seasons of a player (esp. post the steroid era) and teams do not want to play that much.  And nobody should blame them.  Players should be paid when they produce the most, which is a the peak of their careers.

The system is broken both ways.

I think that the following changes will help, come the new CBA, to create a more fair situation for everyone and for the fans to see a more competitive sport:

  • Establish a salary cap and a salary floor at 1.5x and .5x the previous season's MLB average.  Based on the opening day of 2017 that would be between  $207M and $69M in 2018.
  • Going over would mean forfeiting draft picks:  $10M  = 1st round, $5M = 2nd round, $2.5M = 3rd round for multiple seasons (i.e if you go over by $25M you would lose next seasons' top 3 rounds and the following round 1 picks)
  • Going under the floor will result to a. forfeit the league subsidies by the same amount of dollar a team is under, plus b.forfeiting draft picks at the same rate as going over.  So no more "tanking" for draft picks.
  • Establish a minimum salary of $15 (EST, Rk, ssA), $20 (A), $25 (A+), $30 (AA), $35 AAA per hour, for minor league players.  Based on 1500 hrs (9 months), those salaries become: $22.5K, $30K, $37.5K, $45K, and $52.5K a season at the different levels.
  • Unless extended, everyone hits free agency after his age 25 season, with the age based on player's age on opening day.
Holy cow!  This sounds like a player's dream. And so far it is; however: 
  • The concept of arbitration ceases to exist.  25 year old free agents who are entering their primes will be getting into contracts that will reward what they expected to gain during their primes.  
  • Maximum guaranteed contracts should be 5 years.  Options are allowed if the two parties agree.  "No trade" clauses go away (and they have been pretty much irrelevant recently.)
  • There will be no international free agents.  Everyone, including Asian and Cuban professional players will have to go through the draft, like in the NBA, with minimum age of signing 17 (the equivalent of a High School senior).  This will stop the Latin American children from taking advantage by "trainers" and sold to the highest bidder.  It will also stop teams from getting the best players from the Asian leagues or the Cuban league, just because they have more money.
  • The salary cap and floor will be based on all the $ spend by a team to players' salaries, both in the MLB and MiLB.  Most teams had about 300 minor and major leaguers last season.  The total minor league investment according to this proposal would have been about $10-11 million annually.   
  • Draft picks can be traded.  
  • The concepts of "International Allowance", "Qualifying offer", "Supplementary picks" etc cease to exist.
  • A first three round draft pick who is not willing to sign with the team that selected him, will not be eligible for the following years' draft.
The last few measures are more favorable to the owners.

I think that these measures will establish better competitive balance among teams, will pay the most to players who perform the best in their primes, pay the minor league players living wages, and stop unethical trainers from taking advantage of impoverished children.

What do you all think?

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