In an agreement that's expected to be ratified by the league's owners on Friday, Major League Baseball will make the following changes to deal with a suspended season as well as a scenario where the 2020 season is canceled:
- A transaction freeze will begin as soon as the deal is ratified, per The Athletic's Evan Drellich.
- If the season is canceled, players will get full service time. Players that were scheduled to become free agents after the 2020 season will still be able to hit the open market.
- MLB has the right to shorten the 2020 amateur draft to five rounds and can shorten the 2021 draft to 20 rounds. The draft is normally 40 rounds.
- MLB can push back the international signing to as late as January of 2021.
- Arbitration rules will be adjusted so players are not penalized for lower counting stats due to fewer games being played.
Among the changes, perhaps the biggest is the transaction freeze that's expected to begin Friday. This means no trades, signings, anything until the MLB and MLBPA agree to lift the freeze.
Also upcoming free agents retaining their service time no matter what has to be good news for players like Mookie Betts, Marcus Stroman, J.T. Realmuto. Each player figures to make top-of-the-market money this winter.
It's still unclear when baseball will make its long-awaited return, but the owners and players have at least reached a deal to provide operational clarity moving forward on what was supposed to be Opening Day.
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