MLB just made a change to 'the worst rule in baseball' and it's going to make free agents a lot more money

MLB's new CBA comes with a big change to what some considered "the worst rule in baseball."

The new CBA has changed the rules to free agent compensation so that teams signing some free agents no longer have to forfeit a first- or second-round pick.

The old rule essentially created a blockage in the middle-class free-agent market. While teams were willing to give up a first-round pick for a star, and lower free agents were not given qualifying offers by their original teams, second-tier free agents often did not receive big contract offers from other teams who weren't willing to part with increasingly valuable first-round picks.

This rule was designed to protect small-market teams from being crushed in free agency by big-market teams that could spend frivolously on the biggest free agents. Teams could offer their free agents one-year qualifying offers. If players turned down that contract, they'd hit free agency, but their new team would forfeit a first-round pick to that player's old team.

12 PHOTOS
Winners of the 2016 MLB Awards -- Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, etc.
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Winners of the 2016 MLB Awards -- Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, etc.

AL Most Valuable Player: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NL Most Valuable Player: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

AL Cy Young Award: Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

NL Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

(Photo by Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images)

NL Rookie of the Year: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians

(Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

NL Manager of the Year: Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

AL Hank Aaron Award: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

NL Hank Aaron Award: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Overall Defensive Player of the Year: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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The problem was that teams that would have normally been willing to give a large contract to one of these free agents, was scared away by having to give up the draft pick. While the rule was well-intended, it ended up costing some free agents millions.

Now, in the new CBA, teams with payrolls that exceed the luxury tax threshold will surrender second- and fifth-round picks to sign free agents who were given qualifying offers. All other teams will surrender third-round picks.

What this change in the rules could prevent are situations like Ian Desmond, who turned down a seven-year, $107 million contract extension so he could hit free agency. Two years later, after seeing a dip in production, Desmond turned down the qualifying offer and found that teams weren't willing to part with a first-round pick to sign him. He ended up signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Nationals that former GM Jim Bowden later called "the worst contract" he'd seen for a player.

The new rule change will still help protect small-market teams and give big-market teams something to think about before handing out big contracts, but it may open up player movement. Now, second-tier free agents looking for a payday are more likely to have more options in free agency if teams are more willing to part with later-round draft picks.

34 PHOTOS
The best photos from the 2016 MLB regular season
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The best photos from the 2016 MLB regular season
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - APRIL 05: Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard #34 of the New York Mets pitches during the 5th inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 19: Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros steals third base against Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers in the second inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on April 19, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 17: Chris Colabello #15 of the Toronto Blue Jays is hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on April 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets is congratulated after he hit a game tying three run home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning of a game at Citi Field on April 26, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 01: Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs slides safely into second base with a double as Erick Aybar #1 of the Atlanta Braves takes the throw during the eighth inning on May 1, 2016 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 01: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics is surrounded by a flock of seagulls on the field during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at the Oakland Coliseum on May 1, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Houston Astros defeated the Oakland Athletics 2-1. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 4: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays has Gatorade dumped on him by Darwin Barney #18 after hitting a game-winning RBI single during MLB game action against the Texas Rangers on May 4, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 05: Seth Smith #7 of the Seattle Mariners sscores in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros on May 05, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 04: Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs tosses his glove with the ball for a putout of Francisco Cervelli #29 of the Pittsburgh Pirates at first base in the second inning during the game at PNC Park on May 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 14: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as he is mobbed by Joe Kelly #18 and Travis Shaw #47 after hitting a game winning walk-off single during the eleventh inning of a game against the Houston Astros on May 14, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox warms up in center field before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on May 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista (19) gets hit by Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor (12) after Bautista slid into second in the 8th inning at Globe Life Park on May 15, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 7-6. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 12: Carlos Perez #58 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals look on as umpire Gerry Davis halts play when a cat ran onto the field during the fourth inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the St. Louis Cardinals at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 12, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 04: Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers in the fifth inning during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 4, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 18: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates on deck in the sixth inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park on May 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 8: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into the legs of Jhonny Peralta #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals while trying to steal third base in the fifth inning at Great American Ball Park on June 8, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hamilton was called out as St. Louis defeated Cincinnati 12-7. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 21: Yoenis Cespedes #52 and Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets get ready t bat in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Citi Field on June 21, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 02: Adam Eaton #1 of the Chicago White Sox is tagged out by Evan Gattis #11 of the Houston Astros as he attempts to leap over him in the third inning at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 11: Todd Frazier of the Chicago White Sox competes during the T-Mobile Home Run Derby at PETCO Park on July 11, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 7: Starting pitcher Adam Morgan #39 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers to home plate during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 7, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Daniel Murphy #20 of the Washington Nationals runs to second base after hitting a double in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 21: Matt Holliday #7 of the St. Louis Cardinals leaves the game after being hit in the nose by a pitch against San Diego Padres in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on July 21, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 31: Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Kansas City Royals steals third during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on Sunday, July 31, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 5-3. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images(
Sep 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) dives for a foul ball in the crowd against the Detroit Tigers in the fifth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees runs onto the field to warm up before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 14: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox reacts as he is given a Powerade bath following a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 14, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 14: Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays catches a foul pop up in the seventh inning during MLB game action and avoids falling into the Houston Astros dugout on August 14, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Dee Gordon #9 of the Miami Marlins flosses his teeth with a piece of chewing gum in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park on September 5, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15: Jean Segura #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 15, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after scoring the game-winning run against the Cincinnati Reds in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on September 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 02: A scorekeeper inside the Green Monster watches Andrew Benintendi #40 of the Boston Red Sox catche a fly ball hit by Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays as during the fifth inning at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Sep 26, 2016; Miami, FL, USA; Hats of the Miami Marlins lay on the pitchers mound after the game to honor teammate starting pitcher Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his helmet to the crowd as he exits the game after he singled during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on October 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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