For some time now, I’ve been meaning to post a little analysis on baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement. I dragged my feet, and Justin went and posted some great thoughts.

I agree with everything Justin says, essentially. He didn’t really mention the ridiculous new rules governing international scouting, but that was yet another terrible aspect of the new CBA. Under the new system, the Reds wouldn’t have been able to sign Aroldis Chapman, I dare say.

All in all, the new agreement is just awful for small market clubs like the Reds.

11 Responses

  1. Sultan of Swaff

    At least we get another playoff team from each league starting next year. Now the Reds have a 1 in 3 chance of getting in once you send the Astros packing.
    I think the CBA now puts the onus on the scouts—the teams with the best will succeed and the perenially weak teams in that area will continue to suffer. The Cubs are one of those teams, so this should help to keep that giant keep sleeping.

  2. yoobee

    Not sure I understand your math…I think the probability is slightly better than that.

    The way I think about it is, in a 5-team Central division, the Reds have a 1 in 5 chance of taking the playoff spot for the division champ. Then, of the remaining 12 teams in the National League, the Reds have a 2 in 12 (or 1 in 6) chance of taking one of the wild card spots. Adding these probabilities gives a combined 36.67% chance of securing a playoff spot.

    Not trying to nit-pick, just exercising my brain on a long Monday after the holiday weekend.

  3. CP

    The new CBA is bad, but I don’t think the new CBA is as bad as it appears. Time will tell but the losing elite athletes to other sports thing is vastly overrated. Athletes are specializing in sports as early as junior high nowadays (wrongly IMO but it is happening).

    From a competitive standpoint, I’m not too happy if I’m Boston/NY either. Now, I have to play a one game playoff, possibly against each other or TB (this is all kinda weird imo). Talk about variance, one bad inning and the entire year is over.

    I don’t necessarily think it means the small markets are any worse than before. Every dollar they save can be applied in contract extensions/free agency, right? (though obviously the big market teams can do the same thing) This gives them some room for error (this can also be argued otherwise). So they sign a kid for less money, get him in the farm system, and lock them up long term like the Rays did with Longoria.

  4. AlphaZero

    Also not trying to nitpick, but I think your math may also have a hole in it. Probabilities don’t add like that. What you really want is something like this:

    Probabilty of A or B = 1 – (prob of NOT A)(prob of NOT B)

    So in this case we’d have something like:

    Prob of playoffs = 1 – (4/5)(10/12) = 1/3 = 33.33%

    This assumes that A & B are completely independent of one another and that all teams are equally matched, so it’s really a moot point. Thought I’d point it out in any event.

  5. yoobee


    Good call. My approach didn’t feel right to me, but I couldn’t figure out what was the flaw. Thanks for showing the principle you used.

  6. Travis G.

    I’m warming up to the additional wild card idea, but I’m surprised they didn’t make it a three-game series. That would actually be my preference, and it would also make more money for MLB. It’s not too often that my interests line up with MLB’s bottom line!

  7. AlphaZero

    I actually really like most of what I’ve read about the new CBA. I like the new Wild Card format due to the fact that it puts an additional team in the mix and also severely penalizes Wild Card teams by forcing them to throw their aces in a single game elimination round.

    I may be in the minority here, but I’m also in favor of the restrictions on draft spending. It may dillute the talent pool somewhat, but there is also now a much steeper penalty for the large market clubs who sign stars away from the small markets. Not only will those teams lose a first round pick; they’ll also lose the slot money allocated for that pick. That means that the large market teams can’t make up for losing first round picks due to FA signings by going overslot on a bunch of guys in rounds 2-10. If they do, they’ll be paying significant taxes and/or losing out on future picks.

    The news rules for signing international FAs are the only things that I’m really bummed about, but all in all, I think the new CBA is a pretty solid deal.

  8. Dan

    All six divisions finally being the same size is HUGE! I can’t believe how long baseball was the only major sport with a fundamentally unfair structure like we’ve had.

    One new idea though (to further the idea that the wild card team should be at a pretty serious disadvantage) — I think that in the first round of the playoffs, in that 1 vs. 4 (or 1 vs. 5) series, the 1 seed should either get all 5 home games, or maybe 4 out of 5. That 4 or 5 seed should not be on the same footing as the 3 seed in the other series.

    Anyway… besides that it seems OK to me.

  9. RiverCity Redleg

    @AlphaZero: Also not to nitpick, but B is not independant of A. B is dependant on A not happenning. I haven’t given this enough thought to say how (if at all) this affects the probability, but I’ll get back to you. Just some food foe thought as I read through these threads.

  10. AlphaZero

    @RiverCity Redleg

    Sorry if I was unclear in my previous post, but I totally agree. That’s why I said that the calculation was a moot point due to the fact that A and B are not independent and all teams are not of equal strength. I was just trying to demonstrate that probabilities don’t add. Again, sorry for the lack of clarity, and I hope I didn’t confuse the issue.