Baseball players and owners reached a tentative agreement on a five-year labor contract Wednesday night, a deal that will extend the sport's industrial peace to 26 years since the ruinous fights in the first two decades of free agency. After days of near round-the-clock talks, negotiators reached a verbal agreement about 3 1/2 hours before the expiration of the current pact, the AP reports. Then they worked to draft a memorandum of understanding, which must be ratified by both sides. "It's great! Another five years of uninterrupted baseball," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said.
As part of the deal, the luxury tax threshold rises from $189 million to $195 million next year, $197 million in 2018, $206 million in 2019, $209 million in 2020, and $210 million in 2021, a source tells the AP. There will be a new penalty for signing certain free agents that could affect a team's draft order. There's no change to limits on active rosters, which remain at 25 for most of the season and 40 from Sept. 1 on. Negotiators met through most of Tuesday night in an effort to increase momentum in the talks, which began during spring training. This is the third straight time the sides reached a new agreement before expiration, but a deal was struck eight weeks in advance of expiration in 2006 and three weeks ahead of expiration in 2011. (Read more Major League Baseball stories.)