Sunday, November 20, 2011
Also there will be a rise in the minimum salary to $480,000 and luxury taxes on both amateur draft signings and international free agents coming to the major leagues.
Lawyers for players and owners are working to complete a memorandum of understanding on changes to sport's collective bargaining agreement and hope to sign the deal by Tuesday.
A person familiar with the negotiations disclosed some of the agreed-upon provisions to The Associated Press on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced.
The blood testing provision was first reported by The New York Times.
Blood testing for human growth hormone will start when players report to spring training in February, putting MLB ahead of the NFL. The NFL wanted to start HGH testing this season, following that sport's new labor contract, but the NFL Players Association has not agreed, causing some congressmen to pressure the union.
There also will be a slight increase in the total of players eligible for salary arbitration after the 2012 season, when there also will be a new method to determine compensation for clubs losing top major league free agents. There also will be modifications to the luxury tax on high-payroll teams, but the threshold will remain at $178 million next year.
The changes are the most numerous since the 1997 agreement that came nearly two years after a 7½-month strike that wiped out the 1994 World Series. The five-year deal, replacing one set to expire Dec. 11, ensures 21 consecutive years of labor peace for MLB at a time when the NBA season is being threatened by a lockout that already has wiped out a quarter of the regular season.
As part of the deal, baseball's minimum salary will go from $414,000 this year to $480,000 in 2012 and $500,000 later in the deal -- matching what the average salary was in 1989.