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Friday, May 31, 2013

Passan: MLB will not implement international draft

Major League Baseball will not implement an international draft for 2014 and may not revisit the subject for another three years, temporarily allaying fears of those worried one would destroy the vibrant baseball culture in Latin American countries, sources told Yahoo! Sports on Friday.

The league and the MLB Players Association are expected to announce Friday they did not reach an agreement and plan to table the idea of an international draft for the rest of the current collective-bargaining agreement, which ends following the 2016 season.

The parties had negotiated with a June 1 deadline to put in place a framework for a draft. While talks will continue and could evolve before the expiration of the CBA, sources said, centralizing such a potentially huge operation proved too difficult over the next calendar year.

The international draft has been a pet project of commissioner Bud Selig, who said he plans on retiring in 2015. He has dispatched top lieutenants to fix a system many in baseball see as corrupt, with rampant identity fraud and performance-enhancing-drug use among teenagers vying for tens of millions of dollars in signing-bonus money.

Baseball ultimately envisions an operation that keeps the heart of the trainer-based system while weeding out the crooked parts that also have included kickbacks to scouts.

The greatest fear among Latin Americans – from outspoken Yankees coach Tony Pena to players who signed a petition opposing a draft system – was that a draft would turn the affected countries into Puerto Rico, whose baseball pipeline dried up once it was subject to a draft.

Thanks to Drew.

Repoz Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:06 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: draft

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4456938)
Good to see Tony Pena has such sway with the Commish.
   2. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4456941)
and may not revisit the subject for another three years
This bit shocked me.

Wonder if the petition played any role?
   3. Flynn Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4457068)
The greatest fear among Latin Americans – from outspoken Yankees coach Tony Pena to players who signed a petition opposing a draft system – was that a draft would turn the affected countries into Puerto Rico, whose baseball pipeline dried up once it was subject to a draft.


Yes, because there were other places that didn't have a draft.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4457077)
I don't know why they don't just abolish the draft, and give each team a set amount they can spend on amateur FAs, weighted based on record, and maybe market size.

So, Houston gets $20M to spend on amateurs in 2013, declining until SF get $10M.

Let the teams spend as they wish, and the players sign with who they wish to.
   5. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4457090)
was that a draft would turn the affected countries into Puerto Rico, whose baseball pipeline dried up once it was subject to a draft.

This falsehood just won't die.
   6. Sunday silence Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4457099)
can someone explain the Puerto Rico situation. At least why they have a problem with the draft? I confess I dont follow the economics of baseball very well.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4457116)
PR used to not be subject to the draft. Now it is, and some feel that is a reason why the island doesn't produce as much talent anymore, because the financial incentive structure isn't there anymore.
   8. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4457129)
I don't know why they don't just abolish the draft, and give each team a set amount they can spend on amateur FAs, weighted based on record, and maybe market size.

So, Houston gets $20M to spend on amateurs in 2013, declining until SF get $10M.

Let the teams spend as they wish, and the players sign with who they wish to.


I agree with you and actually as a fan I think annual amateur talent procurement would be more interesting to follow this way.

It has interesting implications. If I were a top five level of amateur talent I'd probably be inclined to accept somewhat less money to sign with a team with a better reputation for developing talent... I might accept $3 million from St. Louis or Tampa even if Seattle and Kansas City were offering me $5.5 million. A few million when I'm 18 is nice, but being in a better system might be worth $100 million to me when I'm 27. And I wouldn't sign with the Yankees at any price. I like my soul.

There's also the issue of inevitable wink-wink/handshake agreements outside the formal contracts; I suspect that's mostly the reason MLB isn't going to abolish the draft anytime soon. And undoubtedly at least a few top-of-the-draft talents will want to sign with New York or L.A. or Boston even if it's a bit less money than they could get from Minnesota or Pittsburgh. (You might solve that by making the cap gap between the worst team and the best bigger, but you'd make the signing bonuses explode that way, which neither MLB nor the players' union wants.) It's thorny.

I assume another reason MLB likes the draft is it's just a hell of a lot easier for front offices. You put your board together, you do the draft, and then you have a short list of players you negotiate exclusively with. That's a hell of a lot easier than having to undergo intense negotiations with a large pool of players that numerous other teams are also trying to outbid you for.
   9. AROM Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4457152)
I might accept $3 million from St. Louis or Tampa even if Seattle and Kansas City were offering me $5.5 million. A few million when I'm 18 is nice, but being in a better system might be worth $100 million to me when I'm 27.


They'd keep you in the minors longer. Time your callup to keep you from hitting free agency an extra year or being a super 2. They might come to you with an early contract extension that gives them very team-friendly options at the end, which means you aren't getting that 100 million deal at age 27. The contract extension offer includes the implicit threat that you might be sent back to the minors another year or 2 if you don't take it.

You sure you wouldn't rather sign with a team desperate for a young star, who will move you to the majors quickly?
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4457165)
IIRC, Adeiny Hechevaria signed with Toronto for that reason. The other teams he was negotiating with already had established shortstops or promising prospects at short, and he figured Toronto was his quickest path to the bigs.

He was kinda right.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4457175)
Houston gets $20M to spend on amateurs in 2013, declining until SF get $10M. Let the teams spend as they wish, and the players sign with who they wish to.

Not sure what the exact cap or spread should be, but I'd endorse the general idea and let the details be worked out by collective bargaining.
   12. Gamingboy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4457194)
was that a draft would turn the affected countries into Puerto Rico, whose baseball pipeline dried up once it was subject to a draft.


This falsehood just won't die.



Well, it is true for Puerto Rico, but it is probably false (at least to an extent) for the Dominican and Venezuela, where the economy is crappier and thus even going into baseball at the lower level salaries that would result from a draft would still be extremely appetizing.
   13. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4457196)
i don't even think it was *that* true for PR. non-zero effect, but way overstated.
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 31, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4457219)
i don't even think it was *that* true for PR. non-zero effect, but way overstated.

Agreed. Google isn't yielding anything, but wasn't Dan Rosenheck writing a book about this?
   15. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4457272)
They'd keep you in the minors longer. Time your callup to keep you from hitting free agency an extra year or being a super 2. They might come to you with an early contract extension that gives them very team-friendly options at the end, which means you aren't getting that 100 million deal at age 27. The contract extension offer includes the implicit threat that you might be sent back to the minors another year or 2 if you don't take it.

You sure you wouldn't rather sign with a team desperate for a young star, who will move you to the majors quickly?


An interesting scenario.

With the enormous caveat that I am not a blue chip athlete and would almost certainly think very differently if I was, my answer would be: No, I would rather sign with the team most likely to turn me into a superstar. I'm not tremendously concerned with how long I'm in the minors because $3.5 million can stretch a long way if I'm not an idiot with it; if I play well I'll be in the majors soon enough in any case.

I would laugh at the veiled threat of keeping me in the minors because if I'm playing well enough to make them interested in locking me up then they're in no position to send me down. I tell the team I'm willing to sign an extension that buys out arbitration plus one year of free agency at somewhat below expected market rate, and no more. They can give me that contract or we can both roll the dice with three years of arbitration and then free agency. If I'm healthy then I'll have my agent look into purchasing some injury insurance so I don't walk away with entirely nothing if a catastrophic injury ruins my career before I hit free agency and a nine-figure contract.

Implicit in my entire argument, of course, is the assumption that developing talent is a real ability that significantly differs from organization to organization. If you don't believe that is so, then selecting for the quickest path to the majors would be optimal.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: May 31, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4457281)
I don't know why they don't just abolish the draft, and give each team a set amount they can spend on amateur FAs, weighted based on record, and maybe market size


Because the rich teams would lie.
   17. Steve Treder Posted: May 31, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4457285)
I don't know why they don't just abolish the draft, and give each team a set amount they can spend on amateur FAs, weighted based on record, and maybe market size


Because the rich teams would lie.

Well, yeah. Among the prominent motivations to institute the free agent draft originally back in 1965 (the most prominent reason being simply cost control) was to prevent the practice (that was understood to be fairly widespread, but of course by definition no one knew for sure) of under-the-table payments above and beyond the official signing amount.

The lore is that teams got rather creative sometimes, signing a prospect for X, but also "hiring" his dad as a "scout" for Y.
   18. bobm Posted: May 31, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4457313)
[14]

http://www.slideshare.net/sloansportsconf/dodging-the-draft-analyzing-the-competitive-impact-of-baseballs-amateur-draft

http://www.economist.com/node/21546064

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/16/how-the-draft-killed-baseball-in-puerto-rico/

Http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/sports/baseball/puerto-rico-traces-decline-in-prospects-to-inclusion-in-the-baseball-draft.html

http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2013/03/20/mythbusting-the-international-draft-didnt-kill-puerto-rican-baseball/

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2012/06/06/mlb-draft-correa-gives-hope-to-puerto-rican-baseball/



   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 09:45 PM (#4457447)
Well, yeah. Among the prominent motivations to institute the free agent draft originally back in 1965 (the most prominent reason being simply cost control) was to prevent the practice (that was understood to be fairly widespread, but of course by definition no one knew for sure) of under-the-table payments above and beyond the official signing amount.

Then why aren't we worried about this with international signees?
   20. Paul D(uda) Posted: May 31, 2013 at 11:47 PM (#4457575)
Can't the rich teams lie now with how much they're paying their draft picks?
   21. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: June 01, 2013 at 03:46 AM (#4457627)
The draft is silly, when you can just have an open market do a better job. The NFL-ization of MLB or just about every American sport, including college football is loathsome. Fans need to be more tolerant of differences between sport leagues, this desire for conformity in American society is to the point it is sickening. How's that for useful hyperbole?
   22. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: June 01, 2013 at 03:51 AM (#4457628)
A big upside to open markets is the near certain likelihood teams that are poor money managers like the Yankees, Dodgers and Sox will blow all sorts of millions on duds....potentially cutting into their massive edge, giving them merely a large edge. If you think FA contracts are usually a bust, wait til these teams open up their checkbooks on 18 year olds. I realize it cuts both ways, for poor teams too, but the big boys will probably roll in crappy contracts. I say bring it, give them another chance to shoot themselves in the foot. Let the scouts shine.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 01, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4457652)
Then why aren't we worried about this with international signees?


We are, but the relatively few number of signees makes it less of a big deal.

Can't the rich teams lie now with how much they're paying their draft picks?


Yes, and they probably are, but it's not as big of a deal since they are limited to who they can negotiate with.

The draft is silly, when you can just have an open market do a better job. The NFL-ization of MLB or just about every American sport, including college football is loathsome. Fans need to be more tolerant of differences between sport leagues, this desire for conformity in American society is to the point it is sickening. How's that for useful hyperbole?


I just don't see how the open market is better. I agree with your general point about conformity in America, but I just don't see being 'non-conform, for non-conform sake' as a good option. Draft sets a pretty clear path to the majors, it sets up a much simpler to manage front office/scouting system, it creates a much more fair system for the 30 teams... and yes, I'm in the camp that honestly doesn't give one #### about self determination of the individual for a pro-athlete. You want one of the greatest jobs in the world, with one of the highest potential pay, you make the sacrifice to determine where you will play.
   24. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4457685)
Something else came to my mind about a benefit of the draft system for the owners: Minor leaguers who aren't big-time prospects are treated like crap by their parent organizations. The organizations can get away with this because the player has no choice; once a team has drafted you, that team owns you. You don't get free of that team's ownership of you until you've spent five-plus years in the major leagues (which 99%-plus of minor leaguers never will). They can treat you however they want and you have no recourse except to quit baseball and find a real job.

In a world where every team can bid on every 18-year-old, many of the 18-year-olds may well start to take into consideration how well or poorly your organization treats its minor leaguers when they decide whose $300,000 offer to sign. A pragmatic organization or two might decide to start treating its minor leaguers noticeably better (upgrading some facilities, extra coaching, better food) to give itself a little boost in attractiveness to amateurs. Before long half the teams have done likewise and the other half are being attacked by press and bloggers for their 20th century attitudes.

Of course this can be avoided by a quiet collusion of owners agreeing not to do this, but all it takes is one desperate rogue and then the spark ignites and ownership finds itself in a slippery slope taking millions of dollars right out of its pockets every year.
   25. puck Posted: June 01, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4457787)
#24: Sounds like the SEC.
   26. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 01, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4457812)
Man, all the SEC has to do to recruit high school boys is send them to a sorority party.

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