Collective bargaining agreement

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The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is the binding contract between the Bull Baseball League and the players, who form an association. For game purposes, it is the financial framework for player compensation as applied to this league.

The agreement deals with not only player compensation, but also rules regarding contractual rights, and other aspects of managing players.

Player categories

In former years, a baseball player would sign a contract to a team that would exercise exclusive control over that player for the duration of the contract. The team could trade them, but otherwise the player was bound to play for that team until the contract expired. Even then, the team could decide whether to offer the player an extension or not, and no other team could sign that player. This system was known as the reserve system, because the first team "reserves" the rights to deal with that player.

The current system involves free agency, which allows players to sign with any team after their first team no longer has any rights over them. The CBA has rules that set out exactly when and how long a team has exclusive rights over a particular player or class of players.

Generally, at the beginning of a player's career, they are under exclusive rights to one team. This is either the team that drafted them as an amateur, or that signed them as an international free agent (if they were ineligible for the draft). That player is either given a minor league contract, or, if they are assigned to a club's active or secondary roster, they are signed to a major-league contract.

Later, after a required number of years of service, unless the team has signed them to a guaranteed contract, a player will be eligible for arbitration. This means the team and the player will have salary decided at a hearing. The team may "non-tender" the player, which releases them to free agency, if they do not wish to go to arbitration. Once the player reaches free agent eligibility, which will occur after six years of service, they are no longer bound to the team once their contract runs out. If not extended, the player may sign with any team.

The table summarizes the player's status at each stage of their career.

Summary of player contract rights

Term Definition
Year At least 75 days of service to qualify for 1 year
Major A player who is on a major-league contract, even if assigned to minor league team.
If assigned to minors, players earn half their major-league salary.
Minor A player who is on a minor league contract.
Year Major Minor
Phase Notes Phase Notes
0 Exclusive Players are not eligible for
arbitration. Players under league
minimum salary.
Exclusive, Protected Minor league players are
not eligible for free agency,
and may be protected from Rule 5
depending on pro service time.
1
2
3
4 Arbitration eligible Players become eligible for arbitration
after 3 years' service.
5 Exclusive Players are under exclusive contracts,
but may not be protected from Rule 5
6
>6 Free agent eligible Players may become free agents at
end of their contract.
Free agent eligible Players may become free agents at
end of their contract.

† — Current league minimum salary is $535,000 (as of 2018). Teams may at any time engage players into a contract over and above the league minimum ‡ — Minor league players are generally only protected until 4 years of service time (if signed at age 18 or under), or 3 years of service time (if signed at age 19 or older).

Exclusive phase

When a player first joins a team, that team has the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for the first several years. The player will either be on a major league, or minor league contract.

A minor league contract bind the player to the team's minor league system without a set duration or expiry. In the game, their minor league salary is not paid from the team budget (they are presumably paid by the minor league team, which in the game has their financial system hidden). A player in this period of exclusivity remains so until:

  1. . The player attains minor league free agency, after 6 years or service.
  2. . The player is added to the team's secondary (40-man) roster. On appointment, they are given a one-year major-league contract for the league minimum salary.
  3. . The player is traded.
  4. . The player retires.
  5. . The player accepts a major-league contract or contract extension.

A player on a major league contract is bound to the team for the duration of that contract. As described in the table above, their exclusive phase lasts three years, when they become eligible for arbitration. The player does not have to be on the active (25-man) roster during this period, and can be optioned to the minor leagues, but remains on their major league salary (and is paid half that amount while in the minor leagues).

Arbitration

During the arbitration phase for a major league player, they are normally on a series of one-year contracts (although they can

References