Business of Baseball Report

MLB to Open Office in China

Sometime in late November, Major League Baseball plans to open an office in China to promote the sport. The league is also hoping to hold baseball’s season opener in 2008 in China, which would take place just a few months before Beijing hosts the summer Olympics. This wouldn’t be the first time the league started the season overseas. In 2004 and 2000, the league openers were held in Japan. In 1999, the league started a little closer to home and held the season opener in Mexico. The league is also contemplating the construction of a baseball academy in China in order to further the sport in that country and to develop Chinese players.

Braves Sale Could Drag Out Into 2007

It doesn’t look like the baseball owners will get an opportunity to vote on the sale of the Atlanta Braves from Time Warner to Liberty Media at the owner’s meeting next week. The two parties are still working out the details on a deal which would send $1.35 billion in cash and the Braves to Liberty Media for 107 million shares of Time Warner Stock. Not only do you have the two sides wrangling over details, but you also have to consider that not only does the league have to give its blessing, the Internal Revenue Service does as well.

Both sides hope to get the sale finalized so it can go on the docket for the January 2007 owners’ meeting. What all of this means for the team and for the Braves is uncertain, because a majority of the free agent signings should have taken place by then. It’ll be interesting to see whether we have a lame duck front office or whether the Braves will be out there in the free agent market.

Managerial Merry Go Round

Since the regular season ended, seven teams have either fired or lost their managers. Four of those vacancies have been filled. Lou Piniella replaced Dusty Baker as the Chicago Cubs’ manager while Fredi Gonzalez replaced Joe Girardi on the day Girardi was fired as the manager of the Florida Marlins. Bruce Bochy left the San Diego Padres to coach the San Francisco Giants, and the latest hire was by the Texas Rangers, who filled their managerial vacancy when they hired Ron Washington on Monday.

The Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics all still need to hire a manager. The Nationals said they’d probably make a decision sometime in December while the A’s are now looking to interview candidates from outside the organization.

Oakland Athletics Rumored to Announce Move Next Week

MLB commissioner Bud Selig is expected to come to the Bay Area next week to formally announce the relocation of the team from Oakland, Calif. to Fremont, Calif. There aren’t many details outside of this, but you can check out them out BizofBaseball.com where Maury Brown provides commentary and some discussion of the design of the prospective ballpark.

Owners Approve New CBA

Baseball owners unanimously approved the recently negotiated five-year labor deal. The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) won’t be official until it’s approved by the players, but it’s expected to make it through intact and as is.

While the owners and the union were haggling over the details, the two sides also came to an agreement over some collusion charges and 40 grievances. The owners didn’t have to admit that they were guilty of collusion; the agreement was made at the same time as the CBA was wrapped up. Twelve million dollars were set aside from some leftover luxury tax money; about $8 million is expected to be paid out.

More and more details are coming out on how the new CBA should look. Neil DeMause takes a look at revenue sharing, while Maury Brown continues his series over at Baseball Prospectus and talks about the luxury tax and the minimum payroll.

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