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Owners, players ratify new Collective Bargaining Agreement

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The Associated Press is reporting that baseball owners have ratified the new Collective Bargaining Agreement by a 29-1 vote, conducted over telephone.

No official announcement of the vote has been made and no public confirmation of the breakdown of the vote should be expected, but the AP’s source says that Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg was the lone dissenting vote during the telephone meeting Tuesday. Sternberg declined comment when contacted by the AP. Later, he offered this statement to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:

“I am thankful for the hard work, leadership, and spirit of compromise that were essential to this agreement coming together. Twice a decade, the bargaining process provides an opportunity to address the extraordinary and widening competitive gap that exists on-field between higher and lower revenue clubs. I feel that opportunity was missed here.”

The man presumably wanted greater revenue sharing, penalties for large-spending organizations and help for his club.

The deal was agreed to on November 30 and, as all CBAs do, made significant changes to the business of the game and, in some cases, the manner and context in which it will be played for the next five years.

It raises luxury tax thresholds, penalizing teams which spend above a certain set amount on aggregate team payroll, while simultaneously increasing the tax rate, which will, over time, serve as a greater form of downward pressure on payrolls. It imposes a hard cap on signing bonuses for international amateur players. It eliminates the provision that gave World Series home-field advantage to the All-Star winner and bans rookie hazing in which players are dressed up as women or female characters. It likewise bans smokeless tobacco use for players who do not already have major league service.

UPDATE: The CBA has now been ratified, unanimously, by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Rays acquire Peter Bourjos from the White Sox

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The Rays announced on Tuesday that the club acquired outfielder Peter Bourjos from the White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

As all three starting outfield jobs in Tampa Bay are spoken for, Bourjos is looking at a bench role to open the 2017 regular season. Last season with the Phillies, Bourjos hit .251/.292/.389 with 20 doubles, 23 RBI, and 40 runs scored in 383 plate appearances. The bat is still weak, but he also still plays solid defense and runs the bases well.

Reds claim Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers

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The Reds claimed second baseman Scooter Gennett off waivers from the Brewers, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Tuesday.

Gennett, who turns 27 years old on May 1, was expendable as the Brewers planned to use Jonathan Villar on an everyday basis at second base. He’ll provide infield depth in Cincinnati.

Over parts of four seasons in the majors, Gennett has hit .279/.318/.420 with 35 home runs and 160 RBI in 1,637 plate appearances.