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Key components of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and how they could affect the Pirates

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

MLB and the Player's Association have reached a deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will carry through 2021. MLBTR has collected the details. It doesn't appear there's much that will hugely affect the Pirates' fortunes, but here's a quick glance at a few key elements.

  • It seems that, rather than the bonus pool system that currently controls international amateur signings, each team will have a hard cap of $5 million for international amateurs. There will be no international draft. The change to a hard cap is good news, in that the old system allowed teams like the Cubs, Yankees, Rangers and Padres to go hog-wild signing Latin American players in certain years, with the only penalty being that they had to stay relatively quiet on that market for a couple years after that. The Pirates never did that, and played by the rules, which were intended to fairly significantly curtail spending by winning teams like them. Under the new system, they'll be more free to sign top talent. Of course, it remains to be seen how much they'll actually do that, given their obvious financial constraints.
  • Obviously, the agreement on a new deal means that next week's Winter Meetings can unfold normally.
  • Roster rules will remain the same, so there will be a 25-man roster until September, when roster expansion rules will be the same as they have been in previous Septembers. That means the two parties didn't do anything to prevent late-season games from dragging well past the three-hour mark, as they commonly did this past season.
  • The luxury tax threshold will increase a bit, eventually rising from $189 million to $210 million. The penalties for exceeding the threshold are a bit more severe than they were before, which could prevent some big-market teams from going too crazy with their payrolls.
  • Beginning next winter, a team that signs a player who has rejected a qualifying offer can no longer lose a first-round pick, instead losing a third-rounder -- or, if the team has exceeded the luxury-tax threshold, a second- and fifth-rounder. No player can receive a qualifying offer more than once. It is frankly hard to see how all that will affect the Pirates much over the next several seasons, but the changes will have significant effects throughout the league. For a player's previous team to receive a compensatory draft pick once he signs elsewhere, he must receive a deal of at least $50 million from his new team. That rule could come into play for players on the margins of the qualifying offer system, and it's conceivable it could affect the Pirates. For example, the Bucs extended Francisco Liriano a qualifying offer a few years back. He ended up re-signing for $39 million, but if he'd signed elsewhere for the same amount, the Pirates wouldn't have received a pick in return.
  • The All-Star Game will no longer determine which World Series team gets home-field advantage. Which is good, because that was silly.