From SI.COM (Click for full article)

HGH Testing

Blood testing for human growth hormone will start when players report to spring training in February, putting MLB ahead of the NFL. The NFL wanted to start HGH testing this season, following that sport’s new labor contract, but the NFL Players Association has not agreed, causing some congressmen to pressure the union.

High school & college draft picks

A tax of 75 percent to 100 percent will be imposed on the amount a team exceeds a threshold, and teams exceeding the threshold by higher amounts could lose first- and second-round draft picks.

International free agents

For international free agents, such as players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, there will be a separate threshold and tax with penalties, and there will be a study committee that could put a new system in place later during the agreement.

Super Two’s and arbitration

After the 2012 season, about five to six additional major leaguers will become eligible for salary arbitration each year. The group of players with at least two but less than three years of major league service lost the right to arbitration in the 1985 agreement, but players regained it for the top 17 percent of 2-3-year players by service time in the 1990 deal. That will rise to 22 percent following the 2012 season.

Type A free agents and the elimination of the Elias ranking system

For this offseason, the number of Type A free agents, requiring the highest draft-pick compensation from the team signing a player, will be cut from 21 as part of a one-year deal bridging the way to a new system. There will be no change for the most-prized free agents, since as Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

Starting next year, teams will have to make a “qualifying offer” of a one-year guaranteed contract to their players eligible to become free agents in order to receive compensation if the player signs with another club. That amount will be at least $12.4 million and could rise by next year, depending on a formula. The new “qualifying offer” does away with the statistical formula for ranking free agents that has existed since the 1981 strike settlement.

Very, very curious to see how the Yankees react to the luxury tax on draft picks and international free agents. We wonder if the MLB draft will become more like other professional sports drafts where the picks directly descend according to talent level. Before now, it didn’t work like that. You could have better players picked in later rounds due to “signability” issues — a.k.a “it will take a lot of money to sign me.” That served to the advantage of high-revenue teams like the Yankees. Does this advantage go away now?

And what happens if a kid is seriously deciding between continuing school or signing with the team that drafts him? If a team is taxed 75%-100% if they go over slot, we might see more kids going back to school and teams wasting their picks.

This is obviously all speculation on our part and we’re just talking out loud here. Looking forward to seeing more details.