It may be quiet in the world of the Detroit Tigers, but it isn’t quiet in Major League Baseball.
The Detroit Tigers and all of the other teams get to relish in the fact that the union and the MLB have quietly signed a new agreement. This means that the fans get to keep enjoying baseball, the players still guaranteed salaries, and the team owners get to have five more years without a strike.
With the quick agreement between the players and the MLB, fans can relish in the fact that baseball will be back in 2017. And, the agreement actually helps teams, especially those like the Detroit Tigers. And, the agreement came at a perfect time – just before the Winter Meetings.
The biggest benefit to the Tiger is the slight increase in the salary threshold. Unlike all other major professional sports, baseball still retains its salary-cap-free pay structure. But, to keep teams from getting too carried away, the luxury tax penalties get more expensive.
The Luxury Tax Threshold
For the 2017 season, the threshold moves to $195 million. According to Evan Woodbury on Mlive.com, the Tigers will start the 2017 season with 11 players who earn $173 million. In 2016, the Tigers were well over the threshold of $189 million. With an extra $6 million and the goal of reducing salary, the Tigers should be able to avoid paying the added tax.
With a slightly higher luxury tax threshold, general managers could get more aggressive with their pursuits of J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler. But, the increased threshold makes it easier for the Tigers to hold on their expensive contracts like Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
Determining World Series Home-Field Advantage
While the money the players make is an interesting point of conversation for fans, it doesn’t affect the game. What will affect the game is the agreement the teams and the players made about the All-Star Game. Since 2002, the All-Star Game has decided home-field advantage in the World Series. It turns out that 2016 was the last time that will happen (for the time being).
Now, the CBA includes an incentive for the players to put some effort into the All-Star Game. In 2017 and beyond, players on the winning team will win money.
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Since the All-Star Game is no longer a factor in the World Series, home-field advantage will now be determined in a truly smart way. Of the two teams that win their respective pennants, the team with the best regular-season record gets home field advantage. This is good. It truly does make every game count.
Reducing the Minimum Time on the DL
Another interesting aspect of the CBA is the time span of the disabled list. The 15-day disabled list is no more. Now, players can be put on the DL for 10 days. This is another good thing. As Tigers fans know too well after the numerous injuries in 2016, Major League baseball players are better than Minor League players. Reducing the time that Minor League players have to fill-in for their Major League counterparts keeps the games worth watching. It keeps the best players in the game. Players can stay on the DL for longer than 10 days, but shortening the minimum is a powerful decision that benefits ticket holders.
One more good change (for fans) is that the season was lengthened. The teams still have to play 162 games, but the 162 have to be completed in 187 days rather than 183. Players will get a few extra days off and fans get a few extra days to enjoy the best game in the world.