Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement expired last week, ending 26 years of labor peace. Once the lockout became official, commissioner Rob Manfred was quick to publish a letter to fans indicating the owners and players' union may be in for a spirited - and potentially long - negotiation for the next CBA.

It's unclear what that will look like once ratified. So, here are some ideas we'd like to see tabled:


Contract term limits

This potential concession by players could help many mid-tier players, boost competitive balance, and - most importantly to the union - not hurt the earning power of too many free agents.

Suppose players agree to a seven-year cap on all contracts - free-agent deals, extensions, everything. Of the literal billions of dollars handed out before the CBA expired this winter, that would affect only Corey Seager's free-agent deal and Wander Franco's extension. Those players signed megadeals, and both earned them. But, in the grand scheme of things, those contracts represent $507 million of the $2.5 billion spent (20.28%). Nearly 80% of the contracts signed in one of the craziest spending sprees in baseball history would remain legal. Players like Seager and Franco would have to settle for seven-year deals, though, so hopefully, the union would structure this concession in a way that guarantees baseball's middle class more money - either through less service-time manipulation, earlier free agency, or higher base salaries.

Term limits are not a new idea - the NBA has them. NBA players' current teams can also offer one extra year on contracts; it's an incentive for players to stay with the clubs that developed them - something owners care very much about. Suppose MLB teams could offer an eighth year when re-signing or extending their own players, but with another wrinkle: Teams are only eligible to offer their players eight-year extensions if they make the playoffs in two of three consecutive seasons. That incentivizes winning in an age when four teams each lost 100 games in both of the last two seasons.