Friday, October 28, 2011

Major League Baseball's Top 10 CBA Related Issues: #3 A REAL WORLD Series

We are only moments away from the first pitch of the concluding game of the World Series, which has set me up quite well for my #3 MLB CBA Related issue:  a WORLD Series.  But you might be thinking to yourself: "Baseball already has a World Series...  Arn't the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals playing game seven in order to determine who Baseball World Champions are?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Major League Baseball's Top 10 CBA Related Issues: #1 Reforming The Amateur Draft with Hard Slotting

We are only a few hours away from the first pitch of Baseball's Fall Classic, which will be followed by what looks to be an eventful offseason.  Like the NFL and NBA, Major League Baseball's current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 11, 2011.  I am going to go out on a limb here and make a bold prediction that because Commissioner Selig's ire is directed on one of his own, in Dodger Owner Frank McCourt, and his professional relationship with Union Head Michael Weiner, we, for once, will likely not see a NBA/NFL style lockout in Major League. Moreover, Baseball has gone through a Renaissance where their revenue sharing structure has worked and Baseball continues to maintain its competitiveness across the board, where most owners and players are happy with the pay structure and there is no threat of a salary cap. Nonetheless, there are some modifications that Commissioner Selig will likely press the MLBPA and Union to enhance the competitive balance and entertainment value within the game.  Here is my educated guess as to what will be the main points of discussion in the upcoming bargaining sessions:

1. Reforming the Amateur Draft and Hard Slotting:  This will likely be the biggest battle waged, as Player Agents, errr I mean, Advisors,  have the most to lose.  Selig wants to reform this process because signing bonuses have been increasing each year, which causes smaller market teams to pass on better players for players they know they will be able to sign within their budgets.  This allows the big market teams to obtain the rights and throw big money to a player who should have been drafted with a higher pick.  There is no better example than when the Dodgers drafted the "unsignable" but highly talented Zack Lee as the 28th pick in 2010 draft by convincing Lee to give up LSU Football for Dodger Blue in return for a $5.25 million signing bonus. A hard slot within the draft would cap the amount of bonus money that a player can receive dependent on what round and what pick they are selected with.  Currently, the Commissioner's Office gives recommendations of how much a team should spend on a certain slot, but the teams are not required to abide by the recommendations. 

Next up, I will discuss another draft reform with the implementation of a worldwide draft.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Christmas Miracle: How Mediation's Confidentiality Can Save Christmas Day Basketball

Sick of hearing about the NBA lockout? Well, you likely will not hear much more from both sides as the NBPA and Owners have moved their tense and acrimonious labor negotiations to mediation, where they hope common ground can be found under the guidance of a third party neutral in confidential negotiation sessions.  During this critical time, the owners and NBPA have turned to the Federal Mediation as a way to rebuild trust and thrust the negotiation's momentum forward.

It seems like the Mediation is off to a good start. Yesterday,  both sides met individually with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Director, George Cohen, and then today they joined together for a marathon ten hour negotiation session. If Cohen's name sounds familiar, it is because he was the man who oversaw the NFL Mediation sessions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Demotion as Discipline: Learning to be a "Big Leaguer"

Florida Marlins' twenty-four-year-old, up-and-coming star, Logan Morrison was sent down to the minor leagues right after a game where he batted third in the lineup. Marlin brass told Lo Mo Morrison (LoMo) that he was being sent down for "baseball reasons" and cited his .240 batting average as evidence.  However, two days after being recalled, Morrison and the MLB Players' Association (MLBPA) filed a grievance against the Florida Marlin for what they see as a wrongful demotion.
Morrison believes that his demotion to AAA New Orleans was a form of discipline without just cause.  At the time,  LoMo was second on the Marlins in OPS, second in home runs, and third in runs batted in.  Additionally, the demotion came the day after LoMo missed a team meet and greet with Marlin season ticket holders.  LoMo had asked his Union Representative, Wes Helms, if he could miss the event, at which Helms replied that it was ok for him to miss.  Helms was released the next day; (perhaps due to his part in the ordeal in giving faulty advice).  Moreover, Larry Beinfest, Marlin President of Baseball Operations commented to the press that LoMo needed some more education on "being a major leaguer."

So the question remains, when can a major league player who has minor league options remaining be sent down to the minor leagues?  For that answer, let's turn to the text of the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement.