Major League Baseball and its players association have officially reached a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. MLB.com provided a press release announcing the new CBA and the details included under the agreement.
Under the heading of scheduling, realignment and postseason play, MLB has announced the following changes:
Going into affect no later than the 2013 season, the playoffs will be expanded to include a second wild-card team from each league. According to the report, the additional wild-card teams will play a single game and the winner will advance to the Division Series. Major League Baseball will announce whether or not this new playoff format will be implemented next season by March 1, 2012.
The Houston Astros will be joining the American League West in 2013. Also that year, interleague games will be played throughout the entire season.
Starting this season, Type A and B players and the use of the Elias ranking system will be done away with. You can read the MLB.com announcement to learn more about the new system that will be put into place.
There are many changes in the area of amateur spending. MLB, in an effort to move its draft more in line with the NFL’s slotting system, has put heavy restrictions on draft spending. Teams that exceed the spending limits will be taxed and have the potential to lose future draft picks. These picks could go to teams that played by the rules and spent within their limits.
All clubs will receive a set budget for international signings. In 2013, teams will be able to use their international spending budget as a trade chip. MLB is moving toward a worldwide draft, which could be implemented as early as 2014. These new limits will reportedly not be affecting the Japanese posting system.
Starting Opening Day 2012, players will be subject to HGH blood testing if MLB has “reasonable cause”. HGH testing will also take place during the offseason following the 2012 season. These tests will be random and unannounced.
Other changes in the new CBA include; minimum salary increases in 2012, MLB rosters will expand to 26 during some double headers, instant replay will expand to include fair or foul and “trap” plays, players will be required to play in the All-Star game unless injured or excused by MLB, anyone representing baseball will not be able to use smokeless tobacco during televised interviews and appearances, players will be wearing newer, safer helmets in 2012.
Be sure to check out the full announcement at MLB.com.