MLB play­ers, own­ers re­port­edly agree on deal

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Stephen Hawkins and Ron­ald Blum

Ne­go­tia­tors for base­ball play­ers and own­ers have a ver­bal agree­ment on a five-year la­bor con­tract, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the talks told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day night.

IRV­ING, TEXAS >> Ne­go­tia­tors for base­ball play­ers and own­ers have a ver­bal agree­ment on a five-year la­bor con­tract, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the talks told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Wed­nes­day night.

The per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the sides were still putting the deal in writing. They hoped to have a signed mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing later Wed­nes­day.

The deal ex­tends the sport’s la­bor peace to 26 years since 1995 and was reached about 3 ½ hours be­fore the ex­pi­ra­tion of the cur­rent col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment.

As part of the deal, the lux­ury tax thresh­old rises from $189 mil­lion to $195 mil­lion next year, $197 mil­lion in 2018, $206 mil­lion in 2019, $209 mil­lion in 2020 and $210 mil­lion in 2021, the per­son said.

Tax rates in­crease to 20 per­cent for first of­fend­ers, 30 per­cent for sec­ond of­fend­ers and 50 per­cent for third of­fend­ers. There also is a new sur­tax of 12 per­cent for teams 20 to 40 per­cent above the thresh­old, 40 per­cent for first of­fend­ers more than $40 mil­lion above the thresh­old and 42.5 per­cent for sec­ond or sub­se­quent of­fend­ers more than $40 mil­lion above.

There will be a new penalty for sign­ing cer­tain free agents that could af­fect a team’s draft or­der. There is no change to lim­its on ac­tive ros­ters, which re­main at 25 for most of the sea­son and 40 from Sept. 1 on.

Man­age­ment failed to ob­tain an in­ter­na­tional draft of am­a­teurs re­sid­ing out­side the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada but did get a hard cap on each team’s an­nual bonus pool for those play­ers.

Ne­go­tia­tors met through most of Tues­day night in an ef­fort to in­crease mo­men­tum in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, which be­gan dur­ing spring train­ing. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agree­ment be­fore ex­pi­ra­tion, but in 2006 and 2011 a deal was struck weeks in ad­vance.

Talks took place at a ho­tel out­side Dal­las where the play­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion held its an­nual ex­ec­u­tive board meet­ing.

Tony Clark, the first for­mer player to serve as ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the union, and oth­ers set up in a meet­ing room within earshot of a chil­dren’s choir prac­tic­ing Christ­mas car­ols. A man dressed as Santa Claus waited nearby.

While there were no games to be lost at this point, base­ball had faced the prospect of a hold on trans­ac­tions and other off­sea­son busi­ness only hours af­ter the Mets fi­nal­ized their $110 mil­lion, fouryear con­tract for Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes.

Base­ball had eight work stop­pages from 1972-95, the last a 7 ½-month strike in 1994-95 that led to the first can­cel­la­tion of the World Se­ries in 90 years. In 2002, an agree­ment was reached just be­fore play­ers were set to strike.

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