I don't know how useful or interesting this post may be, but here is
a lockout analysis from the Boston Globe via the Associated Press and
a local columnist.
First, as we all know, the season will start on April 9th. The very first
game to be played will be Detroit at Boston. The game is scheduled to start
at 1:05 P. M. Eastern time. The rosters will be expanded to 27 for the first
21 days of the season, then will be at 24 for the rest of the season. For
the first 14 days of the season, a starter will get a win for three innings,
instead of five, conditioned upon the usual rules. The policy for making
up the first week of games is up in the air. MLB wants the games to be
tacked on to the scheduled end of the season, postponing the playoffs by
one week. CBS, who has the TV contract, may put up a fight, because of
programming considerations (prime time and NFL).
Okay, here is a list of the major issues and how they were settled:
Revenue Sharing: The players wanted no change. The owners originally
proposed a committee to study revenue sharing and industry economic conditions.
A 6-man committee was formed to study the baseball industry. The owners
won this one.
Collusion: The players originally wanted penalties for collusion and language
that would protect them against future occurances of such. The owners
wanted no change. The union will get triple damages if owners are found
guilty of collusion in the future. This is a clear victory for the players.
Rosters: The players wanted rosters to be reset to the 25-man limit (the
union agreed to 24 in 1985). The owners wanted the rosters left at 24.
The rosters will stay at 24 this season and expand to 25 in 1991. They
will stay at 25 at least through expansion. The players won this one, I guess.
Free Agency: The players originally wanted those players on a 40-man
roster who are sent to the minors on outright assignments to become free
agents. They also asked for the 5-year restriction on repeat free agents
to be eliminated, as well as draft-pick compensation for free agents. The
owners suggested that players should become free agents twice within 5
years if their teams do not offer salary arbitration by November. The
draft-pick compensation for free agents would then be eliminated if
those players are not offered arbitration by their former clubs. The
players and owners agreed to move the deadline from January to October for
teams to decide whether to arbitrate with former free agents covered by
repeaters rights restriction. It's not clear who gets the benefit of this
arrangement and it probably won't be for a couple of years.
Mininum Salary: The players wanted the minimum salary raised from $68,000
to between $100,000 and $125,000. The owners originally wanted a gradual
increase from $68,000 last year to $85,000 in 1990, $90,000 in 1991,
$95,000 in 1992, and $100,000 in 1993. The players and owners agreed
to a $100,000 minimum salary for major leaguers and a $25,000 minimum for
minor leaguers, up from $22,700. This is again an obvious victory for
Contract Talks: The players originally wanted no change. The owners
wanted a management option to reopen the 4-year agreement after two years.
The players and owners agreed that either side may reopen the contract
on major issues after 3 years. This was a compromise by both sides.
Salary Arbritration: The players originally wanted eligibility after two
years of service. In 1985, the players gave up a year. The owners wanted
no change. The players and owners agreed to give salary arbitration to
17 percent (how the hell did they get this number?) of the players with
between 2 and 3 years of service. Those players must have spent at least
86 days on the roster in the previous season. Again, this was a compromise
by both sides. My own opinion is that the players sort of won this, but
it's a modest gain.
Benefits: The player originally wanted an increase tied to the new TV
contract, keeping the current formula at about 33%. The owners suggested
an increase from $39 million in 1989 to slightly more than $42 million
in 1990 and increase from $3 million a year after that. The players and
owners agreed to contribute $55 million annually to the pension fund. Both
sides compromised on this one.
That's it. Personally, I like the study committee idea. Hopefully, issues
like this will be headed off so that strikes and lockouts can be avoided.
From a fan's point of view, I'd like to hear as little as possible about this
stuff in the future.