Jayson Stark has some notes about the CBA negotiations that could have significant implications for the Pirates. The two sides want to announce a deal during the World Series, but there are some issues outstanding, which include the draft and the possibility of a "reverse luxury tax," which would be a tax on teams that have very low payrolls.
On the draft, Stark says the union is "dug in" against hard slotting, but Selig is determined to get some cost controls on amateur bonuses and won't take it well if he can't. Of course, I like the way the current system works for the Pirates, so I don't want to see hard slotting. I would like to see the end of the current compensation pick system, which tends to undermine one of the main purposes of the draft, which is to help struggling teams turn things around. Stark mentions comp picks as an issue, but offers no specifics.
On the reverse luxury tax, the pitchfork-wavers will be disappointed that there's no mention of the Pirates. Stark does use the Padres as an example, noting that their payroll has been below $50M three straight years. There could be some sort of fee for a team staying under an as-yet-undetermined minimum. It makes a certain amount of sense when compared to a payroll floor, because a team could do a legitimate tear-down as part of rebuilding, but could pay the fee instead of getting locked into bad contracts that would interfere with the rebuilding.
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