Just my opinion, but here are some things I would be asking for in the new CBA.
If I were a player:
- A quick path to free agency. The 6 years of team control is being abused by many clubs. Players should not be first-time FAs at age 30. College players should earn at least the MLB minimum (regardless of where they are playing) after two years from being drafted, HS players - 4 years, international players younger than 18 - 5 years. Players need to be in the majors faster, period. Shorten the length of team control.
- Ditch the QO system. It isn't having the desired affect for either players or management.
- Expanded ML roster (28-man), using the NHL-type model of scratches for each game. This allows for more players to play in position, more players to be available for in-game situations.
- Salary controls in some form. Reasonable controls on individual contracts. Contracts exceeding certain AAVs are limited in term (like +$30 million per season can only be 6 years or less; $20 million, 7 years; etc.). While it does not prohibit excessive salaries, it does limit the term of "bad" contracts, expanding the number of teams who would be willing to tender big contracts.
Only guarantee portions of contracts. Provide teams with an escape hatch where all contracts exceeding a set AAV (say $30 million per season for 6 years) have automatic buyout clauses after the 4th year at 2-5% of the remaining contract value.
Example: $60 million remaining value for 2 years of term -- team pays $1.2 million in a lump sum if player opts, or $3 million a year for two years. When the player signs elsewhere, the new team assumes $1.8 million per year of buyout, the original team immediately pays the $1.2 million as if it were a lump sum agreement. Teams may "trade" buyout figures, meaning the old team could pay all $6 million over two years in exchange for another player.
- Roster-based game improvements. Roster rules to curb or disincentivize teams from carrying too many "max effort" type pitchers who can only throw 25 pitches in a game. Not sure what that looks like, but it's one of the biggest problems affecting the watchability of games.