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.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.