Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why the new CBA may have hindered signing MiLB

When people would fuss about some over-the-hill-journeyman type veteran player signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, many of us would joke who cares sign them like candy.  Basically you were paying a percentage of league minimum to see what they have and then could add them to Buffalo for depth.

The new collective bargaining agreement maybe effecting how the Mets are operating this off-season in regards to signing minor league deals.

The Mets have holes in their current 25 man roster; lets be honest Mike Baxter and Adam Loewen even for the bench are grasps, the same could be said of Mike Nickeas and that's not even addressing the lack of depth in starting pitching.

In years passed guys like Jeff Frances, Pudge Rodriguez, Rick Ankiel and Zack Duke were the type of players the Mets would have signed to minor league deals.  The team basically got a free spring training try-out of a player who was once a productive major leaguer, either they returned to some level of productivity or they became depth in Buffalo.

Guys like Brian Lawrence, Fernando Tatis, Mike Jacobs and Jose Valentin, some work out and some don't, the point was that there was very little risk in signing them.  Even if they didn't make the team and had an opt-out clause or  a gentleman's agreement to be released, you were basically paying them a few checks of 600k until they signed elsewhere.  For the most part players under the old CBA didn't generally request their release unless they had another team lined up to sign them, Wily Mo Pena was the last I rem. so insulted with being in Buffalo he requested out and spent most of the season at home.

In these financially difficult times the new CBA might explain why the Mets have passed on so many available free agents who would have cost a minor league deal and would have fit their needs perfectly.  It also could explain why as I'm writing this it's being reported that the Mets are basically out of the LHB market.

Under the new CBA any veteran player who doesn't make the major league roster will receive 100k compensation and can demand their release by June 1st.  So if you sign a veteran player to a minor league deal your at least paying them 100k and have no guarantee they'll stay as depth.

Major league free agents who sign minor league contracts who don't make the opening day roster or are unconditionally released within five days of opening day will get an additional $100,000 "retention bonus" and the right to opt out on June 1. Several players have opt out clauses negotiated into their minor league contracts as it is, but this just makes it automatic. source True Blue LA