BOB:  Labor deal nearly finished

MLB, players close to labor deal

While nothing has been announced as final yet, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have ironed out their differences and a labor deal is set to be announced soon. The big sticking point this time around was compensation for draft picks, and it looks like the two sides have agreed to something.

MLB has always wanted a hard slotting system where signing bonuses were fixed based on the spot the player was drafted. The players, of course, want it to be wide open. Right now, the league has worked with recommended slotting, but there’s been little teeth behind it.

It’ll be interesting to see what middle ground they found, but from what I’ve heard, they’re may be a signing bonus luxury tax of some sort to penalize teams that go over slot.

The current labor deal expires Dec. 11, 2011, but it looks like this is going to be another peaceful transition. With the owners, players, agents and general managers all having meetings this week, my guess is we have an announcement over the weekend, if not sooner.

Astros sale gets closer to being final

Like the labor deal, nothing official has been announced, but it looks like Jim Crane is close to being the new Houston Astros owner, and with the sale, the Houston Astros are going to be moving to the American League in 2013. For his troubles in moving to the junior circuit, Crane is going to be given a $50 million discount on the purchase of the team.

This move should also mean continuous interleague play beginning that year, as well as the expanded playoffs that everyone has been talking about.

By the time you read this, the owners may have already voted on this because their meeting is this week. It seems like there are a lot of moving parts with the transition to the American League, but the sale should happen soon.

Dodgers look to secure television rights before team sale

The Los Angeles Dodgers asked the bankruptcy court last weekend for permission to market the team’s television rights even though there’s a year left on their deal with Fox. Fox, on the other hand, is suing in order to stop the Dodgers from doing this because, as part of their deal, they have an exclusive negotiating window through the end of 2012.

The Dodgers’ logic is that without the television rights in place, it will be difficult to ascertain the value of the team. The Dodgers’ deal still gives Fox an exclusive negotiating window, it just accelerates things dramatically.

Now that MLB has what it wants, it’s staying out of this fight. What’s interesting is, Fox helped keep the Dodgers afloat earlier in the year, and now they’re getting undercut by the person they helped.

Marlins unveil new logo and uniforms

The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins, and with the name change and their upcoming new ballpark, they unveiled a new logo and uniforms. With a focus on the “M,” the new logo has an orange, yellow, blue, black and white color scheme, and their uniforms are now mostly black. The red and orange is supposed to be symbolic of the citrus industry and the beautiful sunsets in the city of Miami.

On the uniforms, the name “Miami” is front and center. Of course most, of these changes are coming about because of the Marlins’ new ballpark that opens in Miami next year. The name change to Miami was expected, so the rest of the changes were just part of the process.

San Jose finalizes land deal for new Athletics ballpark

The San Jose City Council approved the sale of a land option to the Oakland Athletics for real estate that they can use to build a new ballpark. The team has a two-year option for the five acres of downtown real estate, and the cost of the option is $50,000 with a third year extension that would cost $25,000. If the team exercises the option, they’ll be able to buy the land for just under $7 million.

That leaves things in MLB’s court. Its commission has been mum on the Athletic’s stadium issue, and there would also have to be a vote by the residents of San Jose to approve the sale of the land. The speculation is that if nothing is determined this week at the owners’ meeting, it wouldn’t be until the next meeting in January when a decision would be made on the Athletics’ stadium fate.

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