The Bull League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) governs the operation of the teams, rosters and finances of the league. As such, it is helpful to understand the CBA as it applies to the players and teams throughout the league.
We take a quick look at the major points in the current CBA and how they affect aspects of the league’s operations.
The size of the rosters at the top level can fluctuate throughout the season. The “active roster” during the regular season is limited to 25 players. There is also a 40-man roster, which includes the 25 players on the active roster, plus up to 15 others from throughout the organization, any of whom are eligible to be placed on the active roster in the event a slot opens.
On August 10, with just under one month remaining in the season, the active roster expands to 40 players as well. These players must also be on the 40-man roster, and thus eligible to play at the major level. This is normally when high-performing prospects get an opportunity to play at the major level, add depth to a playoff run, and allow active roster veterans to take breaks and thus stay healthy for the playoffs. However, the additional players must be removed from the roster again prior to the start of the following regular season.
Any player on the 40-man roster is eligible for post-season play. During spring training, the roster size expands to 60 players to allow teams to try out prospects.
Any time a player is removed from the secondary roster, they must be “waived” and placed on the “designated for assignment” (DFA) list. The waiver period is 7 days, and a player may remain on the DFA list for up to 28 days, after which they must be assigned to a roster.
Trades may occur any time during the playing season, or during the off-season, with certain exceptions. After July 31, players being traded must clear waivers. These waivers are revocable, and the player can be taken off waivers and thus not traded should another team attempt a claim.
In the Bull League, drafted players and future draft picks may be traded, but not injured players.
FREE AGENT DRAFT
The First Year Player Draft (also called a “Rule 4 Draft”) is the primary way new free agents are brought in to the league. The draft occurs on June 15, and the eligible players come from the two college leagues and the high school league affiliated with the Bull League.
Though the number of rounds changes from time to time based on needs, there are typically 10-15 draft rounds. For 2017, there will be 30 rounds, due to the expansion of the league’s minor system to include the new Winter Rookie League. Each club now have five levels of minor leagues to stock and the 2017 draft will ensure there are enough players to readily stock teams at each level.
CONTRACTS AND ARBITRATION
Players with a major league contract are eligible for arbitration after 3 years of service. They may remain on the base salary during that time (or teams can choose to pay them more). A player may be offered a contract extension, even if they have notified the team they are seeking salary arbitration. The team may also withdraw any contract offer, which will effectively release the player to free agency on the arbitration hearing date. If a player goes to arbitration, the arbitrator will decide between two amounts: the players ask and the team’s offer. No other salary will be awarded, in other words the arbitrator will not split the difference and award an amount in between the two.
The maximum contract length is 10 years, and contracts may include opt-out clauses, vesting clauses, and bonuses, over an above the guaranteed amounts.
For minor leaguers, free agency eligibility occurs after six seasons.
Players who are not offered contracts and who will be going to free agency may result in a team being awarded draft picks as compensation, depending on the player’s status as either a Type A, Type B or No Compensation player. If a Type A player leaves a team for free agency, the team is awarded the first round pick of the team who signs that player, plus a supplemental first round pick. For Type B players, the compensation is a supplemental pick after the second round only. No draft compensation is received for other free agents. Type A and Type B free agents must be offered salary arbitration, and must have been with the team for the entire season, otherwise no compensation is awarded.