You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

LEADOFF: What baseball’s new labor deal means for Braves, others


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

Major League Baseball’s owners and players reached tentative agreement Wednesday night on a new collective bargaining agreement, no small feat for a sport with an ugly history of eight work stoppages from 1972 until 1995.

For most fans, the main thing the new agreement means is that baseball won’t have a strike or lockout for at least five more years, through the 2021 season.

The agreement won’t bring radical changes, a reflection of the sport’s financial health for both players and owners. But it will bring some noteworthy changes. Here are a half-dozen of them, according to late-night and overnight reports from the Associated Press and others:

1. The (silly) practice of awarding home-field advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star game will finally end, according to the AP. Instead, that advantage will belong to the pennant winner with the better regular-season record.

2. There will be a hard cap starting at around $5 million for how much a team can spend annually on the international amateur prospects market. (The Braves, now big players in this market, will take note.)

3. The luxury-tax threshold — the payroll level that teams are fined for exceeding — will increase from $189 mllion last season to a range of $195 million-$210 million over the course of the new deal. (The Braves are so far removed from the threshold, old or new, that this change is a moot point locally.)

4. Beginning next off-season, teams won’t be subject to losing first-round draft picks for signing free agents who declined qualifying offers from their previous clubs. Instead, teams signing such players will lose a second- or third-round pick. (This could make such players more attractive to the Braves in the future.)

5. Teams will be able to put players on the disabled list for a minimum of 10 days, down from 15, AP reported.

6. Beginning in 2018, the 162-game regular-season schedules will start four days earlier, allowing teams more off-days.

* * *

This should encourage Braves fans about the future: Baseball America yesterday named the Rome Braves its Minor League Team of the Year.

The article by J.J. Cooper noted the Rome rotation featured four former first-round draft picks – Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint – and “seventh-round steal” Patrick Weigel, who was promoted to Mississippi late in the season.

Rome had promising position players as well in third baseman Austin Riley and outfielder Ronald Acuna, the article pointed out.

The team won the low Class A South Atlantic League championship with what was described as the youngest roster in full-season minor-league ball this year.

Baseball America has named a Minor League Team of the Year – one standout team from all the leagues at all levels — annually since 1993. But this is the first time a Braves farm team has won the honor.

* * *

Some might argue that the College Football Playoff has diminished the magnitude of conference championship games. But not Jim McElwain, who has experienced the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome as a former Alabama offensive coordinator and the current Florida head coach.

“I think the thing that makes this game so unique is the stadium,” McElwain said on a media conference call. “It’s not corporate tickets. It’s two fan bases that split the stadium in half. For both of us, it’s easy travel to get there.

“The excitement and the juice — what’s in that stadium — it’s hard to explain. In some ways, (it’s) even more so than a national title game because of the fans that are able to get there. It just means a lot.”

ICYMI: Alabama vs. Florida is the appropriate matchup for final SEC title game in Georgia Dome.

* * *

The five most watched college football games on TV across the nation this season:

1. Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 26 on ABC, 16,841,000 viewers

2. Notre Dame at Texas, Sept. 4 on ABC, 10,945,000 viewers

3. Alabama at LSU, Nov. 5 on CBS, 10,385,000 viewers

4. Louisville at Clemson, Oct. 1 on ABC, 9,294,000 viewers

5. Ohio State at Wisconsin, Oct. 15 on ABC, 8,964,000 viewers

LEADOFF appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

The Adams trade — another example of the Braves’ holding action
The Adams trade — another example of the Braves’ holding action

When Sean Rodriguez, the utility man slotted for heavy duty at second base, was injured in a winter car crash, the Braves’ solution wasn’t to dip into their top-rated farm system but to work a pennies-on-the-dollar trade for Brandon Phillips, who’s 35. When franchise cornerstone Freddie Freeman was lost for 10 weeks to a broken wrist...
Teheran works on slider, next start moved to Wednesday
Teheran works on slider, next start moved to Wednesday

With the severe disparity in his home and road splits continuing to grown, Julio Teheran took his between-starts bullpen session to the SunTrust Park mound Sunday and focused on sharpening the slider that’s not been nearly as effective for him this season. The Braves’ two-time All-Star pitcher threw under the watchful eye of pitching coach...
Loney asks for and is granted release by Braves
Loney asks for and is granted release by Braves

Veteran first baseman James Loney asked for and was granted his release by the Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday, four days after signing a minor league deal with the Braves and two days after the Braves traded for another veteran first baseman, Matt Adams. The Braves signed Loney, 33, on Thursday almost immediately after it was confirmed that slugger Freddie...
Atlanta Braves catcher continues to be inspired by 3-year-old Trucker
Atlanta Braves catcher continues to be inspired by 3-year-old Trucker

Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki’s involvement in a social-media campaign on behalf of a 3-year-old child with Stage IV Neuroblastoma inspired a slew of professional athletes to also step up. Trucker Dukes lived on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where Suzuki was born and grew up and his parents still live. Through family connections, Suzuki and...
Swanson’s late 2-run double not enough, Braves fall to Nats
Swanson’s late 2-run double not enough, Braves fall to Nats

On a day when Stephen Strasburg was utterly dominant, the Braves still made things interesting Sunday but couldn’t pull off a sweep of the division-leading Washington Nationals. Dansby Swanson had a two-run, two-out double in the eighth inning to pull the Braves within a run and chase Strasburg from the game, but the Nationals held on for a 3-2...
More Stories