Players, owners reach tentative labor deal

Baseball players and owners have reached a tentative verbal agreement on a five-year labor contract and hope to have a signed deal by next week.

The agreement, the first for the union since Michael Weiner succeeded Donald Fehr as chief last year, would replace the deal expiring Dec. 11 and would give baseball 21 years of labor peace since the 1994-95 strike.

Negotiators worked to lower the percentage of major league free agents who require the highest form of draft pick compensation for the teams losing them.

As part of the deal, players and owners are agreeing to add an extra wild-card round to the playoffs. The extra round will be one game, winner take all.


Matt Kemp and the Los Angeles Dodgers staked their futures together, finalizing a $160 million, eight-year contract that matches the seventh-highest deal in baseball history.

The 27-year-old, a favorite to win the National League MVP award next week, led the NL in homers (39) and RBI (126), while finishing third in batting average (.324) and stealing 40 bases.


A week after being freed from his abductors in Venezuela, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos has been checked by team doctors during a quick trip to Washington and is “in terrific shape,” says Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. … Dale Sveum was introduced as the Chicago Cubs’ new manager, rejoining Theo Epstein to attempt to end a 103-year World Series championship drought. “It doesn’t really matter what happened in the past,” Sveum said. … The Twins and versatile catcher Ryan Doumit agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract, said one of his agents. Doumit is a career .271 hitter who plays first base and right field. … Catcher Gerald Laird and the Tigers agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract. Laird hit .232 with one home run and 12 RBI in 37 games last season for the World Series champion Cardinals. … The Toronto Blue Jays will wear uniforms with a more vintage look next season.