The collective bargaining agreement reached Wednesday night between Major League Baseball and the players’ union ensured there’d be baseball in 2017, and that’s a good thing.
But the new deal isn’t without its consequences, especially for a small handful of teams that includes the Boston Red Sox.
Among the notable changes in the new CBA was a reported change to the luxury tax threshold, including a hike in penalties for teams who exceed it. Teams’ new payroll limit will be $195 million in 2017, up from $189 this year. If they go over that limit, they’ll pay a tax: 20 percent for first-time offenders, 30 percent for second-time offenders and 50 percent for third-time offenders.
Additionally, there now will reportedly be a hefty surtax for teams that spend well over their limit: just 12 percent for teams $20 to $40 million over the cap, but as much as 90 percent for teams who spend an extra $40 million or more.
In short, MLB is coming down harder on teams with massive payrolls. Guess who falls in that category?
The Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers are the four teams currently over the $195 million limit, according to USA TODAY. And while there’s still no limit to how much clubs can spend, they’ll have to pay a higher price for giving big bucks to prominent free agents.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney notes above, that could significantly change how the big spenders approach free agency.
Boston might not be directly affected by the change this offseason. After signing ace David Price to a massive seven-year, $217 million contract last December, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Co. don’t appear poised to make a huge splash this winter — if for the simple fact there aren’t any free agents of Price’s profile on the market.
But Dombrowski has built a reputation of emptying his wallet for big-name free agents, and there’s a chance this new CBA could force him to alter his offseason approach.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images