27 Nov 2016
There is really only one baseball matter to discuss this week and it is the potential for a lock out on Thursday. The CBA expires on December 1st and while we have heard rumors of a deal being close, so far nothing has been signed. If the two sides don’t reach s deal, the owners will probably lock out the players Thursday. Since there aren’t any games scheduled for almost three months, this would be a largely symbolic move, but it would end any transactions until an agreement was made.
It would be stunning if the two sides didn’t figure out a new deal. It’s been 22 years since baseball had a work stoppage and the game has been racking up money Franchise values and salaries are through the roof. Both sides should be motivated to make a deal. But will they?
From various reports the sense is an international draft is the major sticking point. The owners clearly want one as it would provide even more cost certainty. The players will probably acquiesce to one in exchange for more money since it doesn’t affect current union members. I would guess that raising the luxury tax threshold and doing away with draft pick compensation could get things done.
For the Yankees, the luxury tax threshold will determine the way the offseason develops. Currently, they have about $135-million committed to next year’s payroll. Their seven arbitration cases probably bring the payroll around $160-million. Under the old rules, the Yankees are taxed 50% for every dollar they spend over $189-million, but that tax resets to 22.5% if they drop below $189-million at any point. Assuming that condition carries over to the next CBA, you could see them adding salary up to, but not above, the luxury tax limit this offseason.