Skip to content

MLB, MLBPA reach agreement on winter ball participation

Oct 13, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

mlb logo

From our friend Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports:

Major league players will be allowed to compete in winter leagues this season after Major League Baseball and the players’ association reached an agreement on restrictions that will limit pitchers’ participation but loosen limitations on position players, sources with knowledge of the deal told Yahoo Sports.

That’s not such big news here in the United States, but it’s cause for great celebration in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico — where the four biggest winter baseball leagues operate. There was some concern that players on Major League Baseball’s 40-man rosters would be barred from participating in those winter leagues this year because of tense back-and-forth negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA that just concluded this past Friday.

Major League Baseball was aiming to limit the use of young and injury-prone starting pitchers and the union was pushing for as much freedom as possible for its players. Those winter league teams do pay salaries.

Passan has the breakdown of the new winter league rules that were officially ratified on Saturday:

Starting this year, Double-A starting pitchers – those on the 40-man roster with a majority of their time spent at Double-A – cannot participate in winter ball if they threw 140 or more innings. The previous threshold was 155. Similarly, Double-A relievers cannot have appeared in more than 45 games, while in years past it was 55.

Pitchers also are ineligible if their workload in games or innings grew 25 percent over the prior season. The caveats: They must’ve reached 60 percent of the games-or-innings threshold the previous season, and players switching from the rotation to the bullpen or vice versa don’t count.

Instead of a 502-plate appearance threshold for major league position players, those with up to 552 now can play winter ball. Moreover, the past procedure of declaring a “physical incapacity” – teams simply had to provide documentation – now has strict rules. Unless a player finishes the season on the disabled list or spent 60 days on the DL (including 15 over the final 60 days of the season), a team cannot declare him physically incapable. The exception is pitchers who have undergone major surgery in the previous 18 months.

Off-field improvements for players include the requirement of MLB-certified trainers, higher-quality equipment and increased standards for fields, clubhouses and bathrooms, with a compliance program to address issues.

The Venezuelan Winter League and the Mexican Pacific League began play late last week and the most popular of the four — the Dominican Winter League — is scheduled to get underway this coming Friday.

Latest Posts
  1. David Price got a flat tire on the way to Toronto

    Jul 31, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    david price getty Getty Images

    Maybe he’ll see Daniel Norris coming the other way in his van?

  2. Orioles “closing in” on trade for Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra

    Jul 31, 2015, 10:39 AM EDT

    Gerardo Parra Brewers Getty Images

    Milwaukee would receive a starting pitcher prospect in return.

  3. Now the Yankees said to be “aggressively pursuing” Aroldis Chapman

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman AP

    Or, the very least, want the Padres to think they are so as to bring Craig Kimbrel’s price down.

  4. Red Sox are considering moves for Tyson Ross or Carlos Carrasco

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT

    red sox logo

    They have the worst ERA in the AL, so any starter would be a nice addition.

  5. Cardinals hoping Matt Holliday will play again this season

    Jul 31, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    Another torn quadriceps muscle for the All-Star left fielder.

  6. Padres and Astros said to be “working on something big”

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:55 AM EDT

    astros logo

    I feel like Ken Caminiti has to be involved.

  7. The Cubs and Indians are talking about Carlos Carrasco

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:43 AM EDT

    Carlos Carrasco AP

    He’d be both a 2015 and a future move.

  8. Yankees, Padres said to be working toward a Craig Kimbrel deal

    Jul 31, 2015, 8:18 AM EDT

    Craig Kimbrel Getty Images

    The Yankees bullpen is already a strength. Will it be stronger by 4pm today?

  9. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 31, 2015, 7:34 AM EDT

    Jason Castro Getty Images

    In a night of several walkoffs — including a walkoff walk — Jason Castro had the biggest, helping Houston complete the sweep of the Angels.

  10. So, the Rockies are headhunters now?

    Jul 31, 2015, 3:22 AM EDT

    wong

    It’s fortunate this one didn’t get ugly.

  11. Giants to acquire Mike Leake from Reds

    Jul 31, 2015, 12:24 AM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPWVkMWIyYmQzZjIyZDc1ZDBlM2Q5ZGUwM2I0NGRhODNj Getty Images

    Leake has a 3.56 ERA and 90/34 K/BB ratio in 136 2/3 innings over 21 starts this season.

  12. Video: Jason Castro powers Astros past Angels with walk-off three-run homer

    Jul 31, 2015, 12:00 AM EDT

    HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 03:  Jason Castro #15 of the Houston Astros swings at a pitch in the second inning during their game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park on June 3, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Angels and now hold a two-game lead in the American League West.

  13. Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers among teams interested in Yovani Gallardo

    Jul 30, 2015, 11:29 PM EDT

    Yovani Gallardo Getty Images

    Gallardo isn’t going into the trade deadline on a high note, as he has allowed five runs in three straight starts.

  14. Report: The Diamondbacks have made an offer for Aroldis Chapman

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:55 PM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman AP

    The Diamondbacks are trying to make a play for All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman.

  15. Video: Ryan Rua hits inside-the-park home run against Yankees

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:20 PM EDT

    ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 30:  Ryan Rua #16 of the Texas Rangers celebrates his in the park homerun against the New York Yankees in the fourth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 30, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

    It was made possible due to a misplay by Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.

  16. Orioles talking to Brewers about Gerardo Parra

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:33 PM EDT

    against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field on July 23, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images

    The Brewers traded center fielder Carlos Gomez to the Astros earlier tonight along with right-hander Mike Fiers and they could be close to another deal.

  17. Report: Reds willing to trade Jay Bruce to Mets for Zack Wheeler

    Jul 30, 2015, 9:08 PM EDT

    CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 18:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds takes an at bat during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park on July 18, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) Getty Images

    As the Mets try to pick up the pieces after their deal for Carlos Gomez fell apart, they reportedly have an interesting proposal to consider from the Reds.

  18. The Dodgers have already designated Michael Morse for assignment

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:40 PM EDT

    Michael Morse Marlins Getty Images

    Morse is owed $8 million next season, but the Dodgers covered it in order to complete Thursday’s 13-player trade with the Marlins and Braves.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Hamels (5653)
  2. C. Gomez (4582)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (4279)
  4. M. Trout (3863)
  5. J. Cueto (3815)
  1. C. Gonzalez (3594)
  2. A. Rodriguez (3573)
  3. D. Price (3398)
  4. T. Clippard (3110)
  5. J. Bruce (2881)