MLB News: New Labor Deal, FOX Sports and Dodgers, Astros, Giants and More


Both sides still have to vote on it but, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have worked out a five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement that should ensure the league has another half decade of labor peace. Some things are going to stay the same, but then some things are going to be different.

Some of the more publicized changes include mandatory testing for human growth hormones, 15 teams in each league by 2013, expanded playoffs in 2012 and changes in the First Year Players Draft.

Some of the biggest changes surround the draft. There's going to be a luxury tax on teams that spend above a set amount on players signed through the draft, and there's going to be reduced compensation for teams that sign high-level free agents. What I've read has been vague but the agreement also leaves the door open for a worldwide draft during the time period of the agreement.

Some other changes include restrictions on smokeless tobacco both on the field and in the dugouts, and the minimum salary will go up to $480,000 in 2012 from $414,000 in 2011.

I haven't seen the exact terms of the deal yet and once more details come out, I'll report on them as I see them. The one thing it looks like people have a problem with is reduced compensation when a player is signed away from their team, so it will be interesting to see how that's all spelled out.

Fox Sports wants Dodgers bankruptcy thrown out

I talked about this last week, but Fox is suing the Dodgers because the team wants to start talking television rights with other companies. Under the current television deal with Fox that runs through the 2012 season, Fox is supposed to have exclusive negotiating rights through the length of the deal, so Fox is upset that it is being undercut.

Now Fox is taking things a step further and using the blockbuster eight-year, $160 million deal the Dodgers gave Matt Kemp as evidence that the whole bankruptcy filing was a farce. At this point, it looks like things are going to mediation. Both sides agreed, and the judge granted the request. While the mediation is happening, the lawsuits between the parties will be put on hold.

Owners approve sale of Astros to Jim Crane

Last week, the Houston Astros ownership issue was finally resolved. As expected, Houston businessman Jim Crane will buy the team from Drayton McLane for $610 million. The vote was unanimous and with the sale, the Houston Astros will join the American League West in 2013. This won't completely coincide with the new expanded playoffs, but it's pretty much a direct result of it.

Crane's investor group includes 45 people, and 20 percent of the $385 million in equity is coming from Crane. Because Crane bought off on the move to the American League, MLB gave him a $70 million credit because the initial sales price was supposed to be $680 million. While it's not confirmed, the credit is supposedly being split evenly between former owner McLane and MLB.

Owners approve Larry Baer as Giants control person

The owners were busy last week. They also approved the ascension of Larry Baer, who is succeeding Bill Neukom as San Francisco Giants CEO. Each team has a designated control person, and for the Giants that will be Baer. He'll be accountable to MLB for the operation of the club and for the club's compliance with MLB rules.

With the exception of a few years' time, Baer has been with the team since 1980, when he came on as the team's marketing director. He was one of the key people in helping keep the Giants in San Francisco when it looked like they might be headed to Miami nearly 20 years ago, and he was also involved with bringing Barry Bonds to San Francisco.

Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.


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