BOB:  New free agent rules primer

Teams test new free agent rules

With the signing of last year’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the landscape of free agent compensation has changed. Before, free agents could be classified as Type A or Type B free agents. If their teams then offered them arbitration and they declined, those teams that lost players would receive compensation picks in the amateur draft in return. That system was scrapped for one that forces teams to make “qualifying offers.”

This year, a qualifying offer is a little more than $13 million. If a team offers a player a one-year, $13.3 million contract and the player declines and signs with another team, the team that lost the player gets a compensation pick between the first and second round of the draft. The team that signed the player would lose its first-round pick unless that pick was in the top 10, in which case the team would lose its second-round pick. The rule doesn’t apply if a player was traded midseason—only if the player was with the team for the entire preceding season. (Has anyone called this the Billy Beane rule yet?).

Lee County tries to draw Nationals’ eye

Fort Myers has an empty spring training ballpark. After Lee County built a new complex for the Boston Red Sox, the City of Palms Park is empty and Lee County is trying to draw the Washington Nationals there. .

The hard part will be coming up with the money for renovations. Local politicians’ views range from leaving renovation costs to the team moving into the ballpark to even asking the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins to pitch in since they’re in the same county. The Nationals were also to be rumored in talks about an Orlando complex with the Houston Astros.

No deal between ASU and Cubs

In what was a year-long drama, Arizona State University finally said no more, publicly ending negotiations with the Chicago Cubs on using the major league team’s spring training home in Mesa for ASU home games. The Cubs made noises about being surprised but it doesn’t sound like the sides had meaningful negotiations since the summer. One of the hangups appeared to be that ASU wanted to use the complex for more than just baseball, which the Cubs didn’t want to let happen.

ASU said that once the new management regime came on board in Chicago, it raised new issues and new terms that meant the deal didn’t make as much sense. As usual it’s a “he said, she said” situation. but it wouldn’t surprise me if the two parties get together again.

Dodgers raise and lower ticket prices

The Los Angeles Dodgers released their season ticket prices and while some seats went up, others went down. The team will raise prices for 8,000 seats while 10,000 will see decreases—mainly because the Dodgers changed the classifications of some seats. The biggest decrease will be in the new “infield box value” area where tickets will go down from $50 to $35. Top deck seats closer to the front row will see a $3 increase but if you had those seats last year, you don’t have to pay the higher price.

MLB donates $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief

MLB, in coordination with the Major League Baseball Players Association, donated $1 million to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Feeding America to help those hit by Hurricane Sandy. All parties also encouraged others to donate to the cause and individual teams, among them the New York Yankees, are also pitching in. The Yankees agreed to give $500,000 to the American Red Cross and they also pushed a blood drive by giving tickets to games to those who donated to the New York Blood Center.

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