MLB, players' association reach new deal on winter league participation, per report

Jim McIsaac

Players will be able to report to their Winter League teams within the week after a new five-year agreement.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association have come to an agreement that will allow players to continue competing in the Winter Leagues, reports Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports.

There had been concerns that players on a team's 40-man roster would not be able to play in leagues in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico due to baseball's concerns about young players overtaxing themselves, leading to a greater risk for injury in the future.

The agreement was reached Friday and has been ratified by the Caribbean Confederation. It will last five years and will alleviate some of baseball's injury fears as pitchers will be more limited in their participation. However, position players will have more lax restrictions.

Under the new restrictions, starting pitchers on the 40-man roster who spent most of their season in Double-A will not be allowed to participate if they threw 140 innings or more, 15 innings lower than the previous limit. Relievers cannot play if they appeared in 45 games, down from 55 the last few years. Furthermore, a pitcher whose workload went up by over 25 percent from the last season will also be ineligible.

For position players, anyone with under 552 at-bats will be allowed to partake, up 50 at-bats from last year. Any player who spent 60 days or finished the season on the disabled list can be declared incapable of playing by their team.

Players will be eligible to report to their Winter League teams within the week as Venezuela and Mexico have already started playing. The Dominican starts next week and Puerto Rico starts at the beginning of November.

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