With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed before the organizational meetings are over, the Twins have several new realities in which to plan for next year. Here are the changes that seem to affect the Twins the most:

  1. Rule 5 draftees don't need to be protected as early. Clubs have five years from the draft stage or four years from signing to place a player on the 40-man roster or risk losing him to the Rule 5 draft. It doesn't look like they still destinguish between high schoolers and college players anymore. That's not explicit. But it at least buys the Twins an extra year for the college players thy will need to protect, such as Jay Sawatski, Kyle Aeselton, Matt Tolbert, and Matt Fox. This effectively minimizes the Twins risk in losing players to the Rule 5 draft, and pushes out the tougher 2008 decisions by a year.
  2. Teams that cannot sign top draft choices get a comparable draft choice in the following year (one slot back). This will reduce the number of players who fall in the draft for signability purposes because poorer teams no longer lose a high draft pick altogether if they fail to sign a player. It should also keep signing bonuses in check because teams have more leverage.
  3. Draft pick compensation is much clearer now. Type A free agents bring a first-round draft choce or a sandwich pick from the signing team. Type B free agents bring a sandwich pick between the first and second round from the pool of available picks. Type C free agents no longer get compensation. And the Type A and Type B designations will be harder to qualify for, so there will be fewer of them. This will not affect the Twins much this year because they will not have many free agents in either Type A or Type B categories, if any. But longer term, it means the Twins will not be able to get as many high draft choices as they have in some years, especialy 2004 and 2005. In some cases, it will improve the draft choices they get. For example, the Twins will be compensated for a player like Jacque Jones with a first round pick regardless of how many free agents were signed by the signing team, rather than the fourth rounder they received.
  4. The minimum player salary will be $380K in 2007, $390K in 2008, and $400K in 2009. This should not affect the Twins too much, but players in their first three years of experience will no longer be all that cheap when the Twins big salary crunch happens in 2009.
  5. All teams will contribute the same percentage of their local revenue streams to a pool to be distribued to poorer teams. This is in contrast to the old agreement, which forced small-market teams to contribute 48 percent of their local revenue, while large-market teams only contributed 40 percent. Now everyone contributes 31 percent. This will help the Twins until they become a mid-to-large market team when they build a new stadium. At that point, it will hinder them slightly, but the agreement only lasts one year beyond the new stadium. So it's a net gain for the Twins in terms of the cost of doing business in the MLB. And it should not reduce the amount of revenue sharing it gets all that much because of the economic health of the MLB. It should improve the Twins fortunes, which should have some impact on the Twins player salaries for 2007.
Those are the major changes. At first glance, they will all help the Twins this offseason. And they shouldn't do much harm long term either.