There is a new trade deadline date and option limits coming with the new collective bargaining agreement.
Once upon a time, the Astros acquired a certain right-handed ace with somewhere around two minutes left on the clock before the trade deadline. Now, commissioner Rob Manfred has the ability to schedule the deadline anywhere between July 28 and Aug. 3.
This makes sense. If the deadline falls on a Saturday, Major League Baseball doesn’t want players to be traded mid-game, which could happen when the traditional deadline of July 31 falls on a Saturday as happened in 2021.
It seems so logical that the date would be flexible depending on the year, but it makes one wonder why it took so long to come up with and agree to the idea. This could give wheeling, dealing general manager James Click a couple extra days to put together a deal for a difference maker.
Did you know Luis Head, Mitch White and Albert Abreu all went back and forth between MLB and the MiLB 10 times last season? Ten times! That will no longer be possible as the new CBA limits options to a maximum of five times per year for three seasons before the players are required to clear waivers.
That means the Astros are looking at a compressed schedule with more doubleheaders and a pitching staff in a flux with Justin Verlander coming off Tommy John surgery , Lance McCullers Jr. out indefinitely and other maladies that are sure to occur.
This means the option and recall game will have to be managed with additional precision. For example, do you waste an option for a late April start if you know the pitcher’s going to be sent right back to Sugar Land if you may need him in July for a couple of doubleheaders?
Do you play a player short for a few days instead of calling a player up only to option him back two days later? The combination of a compressed schedule and limited options means roster management will be at a premium.
Other changes are: no more game-163 tiebreakers, a new draft order, the old draft and follow rule for junior college players is back, minor-league minimum salaries were raised, and if agreed upon by July 25, an International Draft will be implemented.