DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins hits a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a MLB game at Comerica Park on September 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won 3-2 (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
In stark contrast to the NBA, which is still mired in an in-season lockout that now threatens the entire regular season, MLB has agreed to a new labor agreement -- before the previous one even expired.
So while the Minnesota Timberwolves are still waiting to watch young stars Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams for the first time, the Minnesota Twins are safely scheduled for the near future, as the new deal guarantees MLB labor peace until at least 2016. That means an unprecedented 21 years dating back to the 1994-95 strike.
SB Nation's Wendy Thurm broke down the new deal, and the entire post is very worthwhile reading. In one part, she describes how Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer may never have played in the MLB at all if amateur draft rules that will now be in place were present when Mauer was coming up.
And third, it increased the likelihood that highly-regarded two-sport athletes would choose the other sport over baseball because the other sport offered more guaranteed money.
An oft-used example against hard-slotting is Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who was a high-school National Player of the Year in football and baseball. Mauer turned down a scholarship to play football at Florida State to enter baseball's amateur draft. He was selected first in the 2001 draft and received a $5.15 million signing bonus, the highest in history at the time. Would Mauer and others like him choose baseball with hard slotting in place? Many scouts and draft experts believe they would not, thus reducing the overall talent level in baseball.
The new labor deal does not include hard slotting, but something very, very close to it. Instead of a hard ceiling on bonuses that may paid to each individual drafted player, the new agreement sets a ceiling on the total amount each team may spend on players selected in the June amateur draft.