The union memo landed in the inboxes of many players Thursday, following the news of a new collective bargaining agreement late Wednesday night. After an initial salutation and note that players' association executive director Tony Clark would sign the paperwork in the day ahead, the letter presented a "review to help contrast some of the more foolhardy media commentary."
What followed in the memo is a list of what appears to be highlights of the deal, cast in such a way that explained the advantages gleaned for the players, line by line. It’s like a greatest hits reel.
"Significantly modified Draft Pick Compensation, greatly relieving the burden for those Players achieving free agency"… "Increased the MLB minimum salary by $50-$70,000 over the course of the agreement for the over 400 Players at the minimum salary"… "Guaranteed the full funding of the benefit/pension plan at a cost to the owners of $1 Billion over the course of the agreement"… "Locked in defined contributions to the 401k plan totaling $18,000 a year per player"…"Expanded the reach of the game globally, while securing preferable schedules, travel, and significantly increased compensation for Players."…
In a section titled CORE ECONOMICS, the first note refers to the competitive balance tax (CBT):
"Reduced the tax burden on the first-time CBT Clubs, promoting further competition for Players across the league."
That is followed by a line that jumped off the page for some of those who have read it: "Increased the tax burden for the highest and most habitual CBT offenders."
Within the context of a long accounting of players' association victories, the words seem entirely out of place. Strange. Because an increased tax burden for the highest and most habitual CBT offenders -- the Yankees, the Dodgers -- is actually a really bad thing for the union, because it chases away those teams from spending on payroll.