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.