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A couple of interesting thoughts on the new MLS CBA

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We knew the details would continue to trickle out and I am sure as the next few days and weeks go along we will get more from players, owners, and the league about the details but one writer says the players left without getting their main concern dealt with.

ESPN's Leander Schaerlaeckens offers up this:

Amid the cheers, whoops and hoorahs emanating from all involved with Major League Soccer after Saturday's collective bargaining agreement between the league's owners and the MLS Players Union that avoided a work stoppage, an uncomfortable if unavoidable conclusion slowly materialized as the dust settled: The players didn't get what they fought for.

While the players would speak no ill of what they consider progress in their fight for more freedom, it is becoming abundantly clear that the players made little progress on the one thing that truly mattered to them: rights.

He is both right and wrong, going into the talks there was more at stake than just "Free Agency" but it was a major point that many players were fighting for.

He misses the point that there will be more guaranteed contracts, a huge point of contention for players as pointed out by his fellow ESPNmate Jeff Carlisle who said this on Saturday:

In the area of guaranteed contracts, it looks as if the union got much of what it wanted. Foose indicated that based on age and years of service "the majority of players" will now have guaranteed deals. Multiple union sources who asked not to be identified added more detail, indicating that players who are aged 24 or higher, and who have three years or more of service in MLS will have guaranteed deals. In terms of unilateral contracts, the gains seemed minor, and the thresholds are slightly higher. Players 25 years of age or older with at least four years of MLS experience can have no more than two unilateral options written into their contract. The union was also able to extract some concessions in terms of wages although neither side would reveal how much.

More after the jump:

For me one of the biggest issues that the players should have been fighting for is a raise in the base pay level of everyone.  It sounds like while the developmental roster spot will still be there, that it will get a significant raise (double or more) from the poverty level $15-20,000 a year.  The rumor I am hearing is that the base minimum will be at least $40,000 this year, a number I fully support, with a 5% raise each year (I think they can do better than that but at least it is something).  

With the salary cap raising to 2.55 million (a jump of $230,000 from 2009) there will be a bit more money for teams to spend, but there are still a lot of questions heading into the Wednesday deadline for rosters to be trimmed to 24 players (not sure if the 20 senior and 4 developmental are in name only or still have any relevance on pay and other issues).  We have not heard anything about DP slots, I know several teams wanted a second slot for each team.

We still haven't heard if the reserve division will be back this year or in the future, it was mentioned in passing on the CBA conference call.  So while the players didn't get everything they wanted, I do think they came to understand that they can do much better by trying to work with MLS to improve the league (both on and off the pitch), than they can by making threats and unrealistic comparisons to fast food companies.

I can't wait to see the details of the re-entry draft, will only teams interested in a particular player take part in that players draft, will it be more like a lottery weighted in favor of the worst team in the league?  Or will it be a every available player in one big pot with teams randomly getting a slot to pick from, would the worst team get the first pick in both the re-entry and the Super Draft?  While this would allow players to move from one team to another and it would prevent teams no longer interested in players from holding them hostage, they could go from bad to worse.  It really sounds like a crap shoot for a lot of players.

Leander is right about one thing, this all leaves one guy on the outside looking in more than it should have.  Where will DVBD play in 2010?  He isn't the fastest guy on the pitch, but without his 11 assists for FC Dallas last year, they don't make a huge run at the playoffs and Jeff Cunningham doesn't win the golden boot.  I believe the league should look at FC Dallas and say, sign him or waive him.  Enough is enough.

OFF MY SOAPBOX