MLB, Union change off-season schedule

(Photo: Getty Images)

A year from now, Major League Baseball and the players union will be discussing major issues to avoid a work-stoppage and get a new collective bargaining agreement. Hopefully, those negotiations will go as smoothly as the current talks between the two sides that were aimed at cutting down the number of unsigned free agents in February and March.

Normally, teams had a 15 day negotiating window after the end of the World Series to reach a deal with their own free agents, but they will now have just five days to negotiate.

In general, the off-season schedule has been moved up by about a week in most other circumstances. Teams now have until November 23, rather than December 1 to offer arbitration to players and players no longer have until December 7 to respond to those offers and will have to respond by November 30.

The non-tender deadline moves up ten days from December 12 to December 2.

The announcement from the players association does not confirm rumored changes in moving the Rule 5 Draft from the end of the Winter Meetings to a date in late November. There is however, interesting language that places "stricter rules for all parties (MLB, MLBPA, clubs, players and agents) to guard against collusion in the free agency process. It also places "restrictions on the clubs, players and agents to conduct their free agent negotiations through the use of the media."

The current changes to free agency will be in effect for the upcoming off-season and following the 2011 season.


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