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Monday, December 03, 2012

The Economist: Not so fast (the case against Marvin Miller)

The magazine’s sports blog argues that Marvin Miller personified labor unions’ flaws as well as their virtues.

Reduced competition among free agents is great for veterans. But it’s not great at all for young players, who are effectively still bound by the old reserve clause…The union’s rank and file would be far better off if Mr Miller had dedicated more of his bargaining chips to pursuing sharp increases in the league’s minimum salary, or to challenging the amateur draft…

An even bigger black mark on Mr Miller’s record is his callous disregard of minor-league players…By ignoring [their] plight, [he] was complicit in the construction of a system that has presumably forced the next Mike Piazza out of the game prematurely…

His pronouncements during the past decade on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) further sullied his reputation…

David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: December 03, 2012 at 04:46 PM | 137 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: marvin miller

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   101. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4316733)
Barnaby Jones--the Curt Flood Act excluded labor issues from the antitrust exemption.


Quoting directly from the act:

It is the purpose of this legislation to state that major league
baseball players
are covered under the antitrust laws (i.e., that
major league baseball players will have the same rights under
the antitrust laws as do other professional athletes, e.g., football
and basketball players), along with a provision that makes it clear
that the passage of this Act does not change the application of
the antitrust laws in any other context or with respect to any
other person or entity
.


and

Only a major league baseball player has standing to sue
under this section.


Explicitly doesn't apply to minor leaguers or potential draftees.

My argument is that when it comes to the draft, really the entire bargaining unit is non-MLBPA members, yet the MLBPA still has exclusive control.


The MLBPA has almost no control. MLB makes the rules for the draft.

Wait, I'm very, very confused. What about the new draft pools limiting the amount each team can spend on amateurs etc.? That's not in the CBA? If so, then a) where is it, and b) why the hell can't someone harmed by it sue the owners on antitrust grounds?


(0) I don't think so, unless I missed it (certainly possible; I was fairly groggy as I read through the CBA and the MLB rules). Here is the CBA if you want to look for yourself.

(a) It's in the the Major League Rules (i.e., the rules in which the Rule 4 draft is #4). Here is an old version. Not sure where the latest version is.

(b) Because baseball still holds an antitrust exemption for all non-MLBers.

The historical reason why the Rule 4 draft was included in the CBA is that because draft picks are part of the compensation for major league free agents


This is a misnomer, though. The Rule 4 draft isn't "included" in the CBA. It is mentioned in the CBA, and some provisions re: compensation picks are codified. The main bulk of the draft rules are in the Major League Rules (wherein it is stated that anything in the CBA supersedes those rules), which are set by MLB and not collectively bargained.

Wait, I'm very, very confused. What about the new draft pools limiting the amount each team can spend on amateurs etc.? That's not in the CBA? If so, then a) where is it, and b) why the hell can't someone harmed by it sue the owners on antitrust grounds?


Those are in the CBA.


No they aren't (again, unless I'm just read bad at searching the document). Read the CBA and show me where these pools are laid out. The international signing pool is in there, but not the Rule 4 draft.
   102. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4316745)
The MLBPA has almost no control. MLB makes the rules for the draft.

Incorrect. MLB has tried to make unilateral changes to the draft and they were shot down.

(0) I don't think so, unless I missed it (certainly possible; I was fairly groggy as I read through the CBA and the MLB rules). Here is the CBA if you want to look for yourself.
No they aren't (again, unless I'm just read bad at searching the document). Read the CBA and show me where these pools are laid out. The international signing pool is in there, but not the Rule 4 draft.

If the pools are in the CBA summary, they're assuredly in the CBA.
   103. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4316764)
Barnaby - what I meant by "included in the CBA" is that changes to it must be collectively bargained because of the tie to compensation and free agency. Article 28 of the CBA specifies that changes to major league rules must be negotiated with the MLBPA if they lead to changes in player benefits under an existing rule or regulation - that's why changes to the draft are negotiated with the MLBPA even though it's included as MLB Rule 4. MLB also cannot change any rule in a way that is inconsistent with the provisions of any existing agreement between the clubs and the MLBPA.

-- MWE
   104. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4316767)
Incorrect. MLB has tried to make unilateral changes to the draft and they were shot down.


Wow, did you not read what I wrote? I said the one part that is in the CBA are the compensation rules. Then you say "nuh-uh" and give me a link about how MLB got in trouble over the compensation rules.

If the pools are in the CBA summary, they're assuredly in the CBA.


Then surely you can point me to the pertinent section in the CBA, to which I linked above. As I said, I could be wrong.
   105. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4316770)
Wow, did you not read what I wrote? I said the one part that is in the CBA are the compensation rules. Then you say "nuh-uh" and give me a link about how MLB got in trouble over the compensation rules.

Yes, I did read what you wrote. The idea that the MLBPA "has almost no control" over the draft is utterly false.

Then surely you can point me to the pertinent section in the CBA, to which I linked above. As I said, I could be wrong.

I'm not your researcher. From the looks of things, you need a second reading of the CBA more than I do.
   106. Bob Tufts Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4316779)
I hear that the next Economist major article will savage Mother Theresa and demand she return her Nobel Prize since she didn't save all of the people in Calcutta.
   107. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4316782)
Barnaby - what I meant by "included in the CBA" is that changes to it must be collectively bargained because of the tie to compensation and free agency. Article 28 of the CBA specifies that changes to major league rules must be negotiated with the MLBPA if they lead to changes in player benefits under an existing rule or regulation - that's why changes to the draft are negotiated with the MLBPA even though it's included as MLB Rule 4. MLB also cannot change any rule in a way that is inconsistent with the provisions of any existing agreement between the clubs and the MLBPA.


Thanks for the clarification Mike. I guess a more accurate way to phrase what I said above is that the MLB can make any changes they want, as long as those changes don't affect the free agent value of guys associated with comp picks. Admittedly, that's a grey area that can be interpreted pretty liberally, but I still think it's accurate to say that the draft is an MLB endeavor that the MLBPA puts restricts on, rather than something that as a whole the MLBPA is a bargaining partner in. That is the key distinction (as I see it) as it pertains to the question Dan was asking.
   108. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4316788)
Yes, I did read what you wrote. The idea that the MLBPA "has almost no control" over the draft is utterly false.


So you understood, what I meant (i.e., the MLBPA exerts control on one point: compensation, with the rest of the draft rules being left to MLB; this was in response to you claiming that the MLBPA had exclusive control), but then specifically argued with the most hyperbolic interpretation that conflicted with that? What a helpful way to interact with people.

I'm not your researcher. From the looks of things, you need a second reading of the CBA more than I do.


Lol. Okay. I'll take that as an admission that you couldn't find it either.
   109. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4316795)
So you understood, what I meant (i.e., the MLBPA exerts control on one point: compensation, with the rest of the draft rules being left to MLB), but then specifically argued with a different interpretation that conflicted with that? What a helpful way to interact with people.

After going from zero to snide in the span of one reply, it's odd for you to complain about the way others "interact with people."

But putting aside petty issues of internet decorum, please list all the changes to the draft over the past 30 years over which the MLBPA had "almost no control."

Lol. Okay. I'll take that as an admission that you couldn't find it either.

Page 268. Took roughly 5 seconds.
   110. smileyy Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4316810)
[106] There might be something to that comparison:

"I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Mother_Teresa
   111. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4316813)
268 is about the International pool, which I mentioned in [101], not the Rule 4 draft. The title of that sub-section is literally "International Amateur Talent System," under the section "International Amateur Talent." You aren't a lawyer, I hope?

I'm being pretty snarky (because your responses are, honestly, kinda dickish), but in all seriousness if it is in there I would like to know. I didn't find it, but I am not a lawyer or a super-efficient reader either. I'd rather be accurate than right.

But putting aside petty issues of internet decorum, please list all the changes to the draft over the past 30 years over which the MLBPA had "almost no control."


Eh, I already accepted Mike's correction on this point. I'll gladly walk it back and admit I was overstating the case by framing it the way I was.
   112. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4316826)
268 is about the International pool, which I mentioned in [101], not the Rule 4 draft. The title of that section is literally "International Amateur Talent System." You aren't a lawyer, I hope?

In #101, you specifically said, "Read the CBA and show me where these pools are laid out" (emphasis added). I guess I missed your last sentence, but the plural "pools" seemed to indicate your belief that neither the draft nor the international pool was in the CBA (or that there were three or more such pools, when there are only two).

I'm being pretty snarky (because your answers are, honestly, super dickish), but in all seriousness if it is in there I would like to know. I'd rather be accurate than right.

You believe my reply in #102 was "super dickish"? If so, you might be the thinnest-skinned person in the world.
   113. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4316834)
Wait, I'm very, very confused. What about the new draft pools limiting the amount each team can spend on amateurs etc.? That's not in the CBA? If so, then a) where is it, and b) why the hell can't someone harmed by it sue the owners on antitrust grounds?

(0) I don't think so, unless I missed it (certainly possible; I was fairly groggy as I read through the CBA and the MLB rules). Here is the CBA if you want to look for yourself.

If the pools are in the CBA summary, they're assuredly in the CBA.
The word "pool" does not appear in the CBA in this context, except for international signings. I'd guess the summary is wrong - the pool for the amateur draft isn't in the CBA, but is an MLB rule.
   114. Barnaby Jones Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4316853)
Ha, I edited it "kinda" dickish before your post. Oh well. You definitely aren't a super dick. Just kinda.

In #101, you specifically said, "Read the CBA and show me where these pools are laid out" (emphasis added). I guess I missed your last sentence, but the plural "pools" seemed to indicate your belief that neither the draft nor the international pool was in the CBA (or that there were three or more such pools, when there are only two).


At no point was this exchange about anything but the draft. I also literally wrote that the international pools are in there. This is the exact exchange you are quoting from:

DR: "What about the new draft pools limiting the amount each team can spend on amateurs"

You: "Those are in the CBA."

Me: "No they aren't (again, unless I'm just read bad at searching the document). Read the CBA and show me where these pools are laid out. The international signing pool is in there, but not the Rule 4 draft."

You: [cites international pools]

So basically, to me, it looks like you are arguing in an authoritative tone and presenting flagrantly bad information (like dismissively assuring me something is in the CBA without even reading it; or saying "Incorrect" and then linking to an exception I specifically mentioned), without even bothering to fully read what I'm writing. This is probably where I am getting the dickish sense.
   115. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4316854)
I'd guess the summary is wrong - the pool for the amateur draft isn't in the CBA, but is an MLB rule.


That's correct, it is part of MLB Rule 4.

As I pointed out in #100, which may have gotten lost in the flip, even if free agency were divorced from the MLB draft there's still a possible legal argument (applied in the Clarett/NFL case) that the terms of entry into the labor market are subject to collective bargaining. That legal principle has not been completely settled, though, and my suspicion is that neither MLB nor the MLBPA want anyone to bring a test case.

-- MWE
   116. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4316860)
The word "pool" does not appear in the CBA in this context, except for international signings. I'd guess the summary is wrong - the pool for the amateur draft isn't in the CBA, but is an MLB rule.

It's a little odd, but I'm guessing there's a clause in the CBA that refers to the MLBPA's agreement to changes to Rule 4 (without the full text of those changes appearing in the CBA) or the draft pool was agreed to in principle in late 2011 but the language took longer to hammer out, and was then memorialized as an attachment that isn't included in the PDF linked above. One way or the other, we know the draft changes were collectively bargained. They didn't pop up in the CBA summary by mistake.
   117. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4316878)
So basically, to me, it looks like you are arguing in an authoritative tone and presenting flagrantly bad information (like dismissively assuring me something is in the CBA without even reading it; or saying "Incorrect" and then linking to an exception I specifically mentioned), without even bothering to fully read what I'm writing. This is probably where I am getting the dickish sense.

Your claim that the MLBPA has "almost no control" over the draft was flatly incorrect.

As for the "pools" issue, the complete text of my reply on that issue, before you jumped into your "pretty snarky" mode, was this sentence: "If the pools are in the CBA summary, they're assuredly in the CBA."

That's your idea of an "authoritative tone" and "flagrantly bad information"? It is simply indisputable that the draft changes were collectively bargained.
   118. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4316938)
It's a little odd, but I'm guessing there's a clause in the CBA that refers to the MLBPA's agreement to changes to Rule 4 (without the full text of those changes appearing in the CBA) or the draft pool was agreed to in principle in late 2011 but the language took longer to hammer out, and was then memorialized as an attachment that isn't included in the PDF linked above. One way or the other, we know the draft changes were collectively bargained.
The word "draft" doesn't appear in the CBA or any of the 46 attachments to the CBA in the context that you describe. Further, knowing the MLBPA, do you really think they'd sign an agreement with something left to be "hammered out" at a later date? Also, how do we "know" these changes were collectively bargained?

It sure looks like the summary (which is on the MLB site, not MLBPA) is wrong and those changes specific to the Rule 4 draft are imposed, not negotiated.
   119. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4316955)
The word "draft" doesn't appear in the CBA or any of the 46 attachments to the CBA in the context that you describe.

Yes, it does. See last section on p. 89.

Further, knowing the MLBPA, do you really think they'd sign an agreement with something left to be "hammered out" at a later date?

Yes, doing otherwise would be the exception rather than the rule. The actual language of the CBA wasn't released for months after the two sides reached and announced an agreement in principle. (The two sides also infamously agreed to a worldwide draft about 10 years ago, subject to further discussion, but then couldn't hammer out the details and said the hell with it.)

Also, how do we "know" these changes were collectively bargained?

Because changes to the Major League Rules that affect players must be collectively bargained. See p. 77 of the current CBA, as well as the precedent from 1992.

It sure looks like the summary (which is on the MLB site, not MLBPA) is wrong and those changes specific to the Rule 4 draft are imposed, not negotiated.

That summary was released to much fanfare last year. There's simply no way the union would have allowed a major inaccuracy to go uncorrected. Beyond that, if the changes were imposed rather than negotiated, there would have been a grievance and/or lawsuit re: this year's draft (like in '92), but there was neither.
   120. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4316984)
Joe: The pool changes wouldn't appear in the CBA, only in Rule 4.

-- MWE
   121. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4316989)
Joe: The pool changes wouldn't appear in the CBA, only in Rule 4.

You might be right, but it's unclear why they "wouldn't" appear in the CBA, given that several pages of the CBA are dedicated to changes to Rule 3. But in any event, the changes to Rule 4 — at least those pertaining to the draft pool, the inability of draft picks to sign ML (i.e., 40-man) contracts, etc. — were collectively bargained.
   122. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4316990)
The word "draft" doesn't appear in the CBA or any of the 46 attachments to the CBA in the context that you describe.
Yes, it does. See last section on p. 89.
Page 89 concerns Free Agency, not the draft or drafted players (specifically, it's draft compensation for FA signings).

Further, knowing the MLBPA, do you really think they'd sign an agreement with something left to be "hammered out" at a later date?
Yes, doing otherwise would be the exception rather than the rule. The actual language of the CBA wasn't released for months after the two sides reached and announced an agreement in principle.
That's the exact opposite of what you're suggesting happened here - this is the "actual language", not the "agreement in principle". If they'd agreed to a Rule 4 draft pool, it would be spelled out here.
Also, how do we "know" these changes were collectively bargained?

Because changes to the Major League Rules that affect players must be collectively bargained. See p. 77 of the current CBA, as well as the precedent from 1992.
They are not "players" (members of MLBPA) yet, until after they are signed.

EDIT: I see now where the pool is referenced on p. 89:
A Club’s highest available selection in the next Rule 4 Draft shall be determined after accounting for any selections the Club forfeited for exceeding its Signing Bonus Pool in the Rule 4 Draft.
In no way does that address the pool itself, or how it's calculated, only that exceeding it is subject to penalty.
   123. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4316994)
But in any event, the changes to Rule 4 — at least those pertaining to the draft pool, the inability of draft picks to sign ML contracts, etc. — were collectively bargained.
You keep saying this, but have yet to show it.
   124. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4317013)
If this is you, obviously you should know what you're talking about (at least quite a bit more than any of us). However, there is absolutely nothing in the CBA that supports what you're claiming.
   125. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM (#4317019)
EDIT: I see now where the pool is referenced on p. 89:

A Club’s highest available selection in the next Rule 4 Draft shall be determined after accounting for any selections the Club forfeited for exceeding its Signing Bonus Pool in the Rule 4 Draft.

In no way does that address the pool itself, or how it's calculated, only that exceeding it is subject to penalty.

This would mean the MLBPA agreed to, if not wrote, a CBA that references a Signing Bonus Pool to which the MLBPA didn't agree.

That's the exact opposite of what you're suggesting happened here - this is the "actual language", not the "agreement in principle". If they'd agreed to a Rule 4 draft pool, it would be spelled out here.

It's spelled out in Rule 4, which is subject to collective bargaining.

They are not "players" (members of MLBPA) yet, until after they are signed.

This is debatable, at least for some players, but I don't see how it refutes my point in #119. The 2012 draft was almost 6 months ago, and hundreds of players signed. Scott Boras had the perfect test case with Mark Appel, but I don't recall him even mentioning the possibility of a lawsuit or grievance, let alone actually filing one or both.

You keep saying this, but have yet to show it.

Except for the CBA summary, and the lack of any lawsuit or grievance in 2012?
   126. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:15 PM (#4317052)
If this is you, obviously you should know what you're talking about (at least quite a bit more than any of us). However, there is absolutely nothing in the CBA that supports what you're claiming.

I haven't been trying to make any arguments from authority here. I just find it a little odd that people seem to believe that substantial draft changes made it into the CBA summary by mistake, and/or that the 2012 draft came and went without any grievances or lawsuits despite the new spending restrictions being imposed rather than negotiated. The MLBPA and agents have gone to war with MLB over far less than spending caps and prohibitions on signing 40-man contracts (e.g., the 1992 case linked in #119, the 1996 loophole free agents, etc.).
   127. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4317065)
So the MLBPA agreed to, if not wrote, a CBA that references a Signing Bonus Pool to which the MLBPA didn't agree?
Good point, but if they agreed to the pool wouldn't it be in the CBA, lest MLB unilaterally change it?
You keep saying this, but have yet to show it.

Except for the CBA summary, and the lack of any lawsuit or grievance in 2012?
And yet, the language in the summary is, word for word, exactly taken from the section on international signings. It would have been a simple cut-and-paste to include the exact same language (as quoted in the summary) for the Rule 4 draft.
   128. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4317073)
I haven't been trying to make any arguments from authority here. I just find it a little odd that people seem to believe that substantial draft changes made it into the CBA summary by mistake, and/or that the 2012 draft came and went without any grievances or lawsuits despite the new spending restrictions being imposed rather than negotiated. The MLBPA and agents have gone to war with MLB over far less than spending caps and prohibitions on signing 40-man contracts (e.g., the 1992 case linked in #119, the 1996 loophole free agents, etc.).
I see your point, but the drafted players aren't MLBPA members until they're on the 40 man roster, which is kind of the point of the entire thread. Could the MLBPA even file a grievance covering people outside the union?
   129. bibigon Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4317075)
dlf, I'm not a labor lawyer, so please correct me if I'm wrong here, but I guess I'm somewhat confused by your argument still. Are you saying that a union has the right to totally sell out the interests of non-union members employed in the same industry? This is at odds with my (limited) understanding of the situation.

In your example of the 18 year old hoping to be on the assembly line, if the Auto Companies agree to limit his employment opportunities by capping his salary at $10/hour, then they're going to run into antitrust issues by conspiring in restraint of trade. The way they avoid that issue is through the non-statutory antitrust exemption. But for that exemption to kick into gear, the 18 year old must be part of the bargaining unit. You're either covered under labor law or antitrust law, yes?

I can throw a couple of the railway cases at you in the same vein, saying unions need to represent all members of a craft, not just the ones who are in the union itself too, but presumably you know all that, so what am I missing? Like I said, I'm not a labor lawyer, so maybe I'm missing something super basic.

Why aren't minor leaguers protected by collective bargaining rights? Is it just because the Curt Flood Act only repealed MLB's exemption with regards to Major Leaguers?
   130. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4317079)
Good point, but if they agreed to the pool wouldn't it be in the CBA, lest MLB unilaterally change it?

Maybe, maybe not. Mike Emeigh seems to lean toward the "not" side (#120), while I'm unsure, since the CBA contains changes to Rule 3. (But either way, changes to Rule 4 that affect the players must be collectively bargained, as per p. 77 of the CBA.)

And yet, the language in the summary is, word for word, exactly taken from the section on international signings. It would have been a simple cut-and-paste to include the exact same language (as quoted in the summary) for the Rule 4 draft.

As I said in #116, it's definitely a little odd, unless Mike E. is right that these changes would only appear in the ML Rules (which, of course, would leave unexplained the changes to Rule 3 appearing in the CBA). But as laid out on p. 77 of the latest CBA, changes to the ML Rules that affect the players must be collectively bargained, and the lack of any grievances or lawsuits in response to this year's draft changes indicate that they were.
   131. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4317097)
I see your point, but the drafted players aren't MLBPA members until they're on the 40 man roster, which is kind of the point of the entire thread. Could the MLBPA even file a grievance covering people outside the union?

As far as I know, this has only been tested once, with arbitrator Dana Eischen sort of splitting the baby and saying, "no," while still giving the MLBPA what it wanted. That said, the union still occasionally weighs in on behalf of players who aren't technically union members yet, but are in the process of becoming one (e.g., top Cuban and Japanese free agents, et al.).

***
dlf, I'm not a labor lawyer, so please correct me if I'm wrong here, but I guess I'm somewhat confused by your argument still. Are you saying that a union has the right to totally sell out the interests of non-union members employed in the same industry? This is at odds with my (limited) understanding of the situation.

'dlf' might have more to add, but there's a difference between members of a union and members of a bargaining unit. In some cases, a person can be a member of the latter but not the former, but with MiLB players, they're generally seen as members of neither.

Why aren't minor leaguers protected by collective bargaining rights?

Simple: Because they haven't unionized.
   132. bibigon Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4317109)
There's a difference between members of a union and members of a bargaining unit. In some cases, a person can be a member of the latter but not the former, but with MiLB players, they're generally seen as members of neither.

If they're not part of the bargaining unit, then don't they have a pretty clear antitrust case against MLB? Is it just the fact that the Curt Flood Act only acted as a carveout for Major League Players that's preventing this? If Flood v. Kuhn had gone the other way, then the minor league players would have a pretty strong antitrust case, yes?

Simple: Because they haven't unionized.
And because they're not part of the MLB bargaining unit, they'd be able to unionize if they so wished?
   133. TDF, situational idiot Posted: December 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4317113)
Please understand: I'm not trying to be obtuse, but it's beyond me that as advorsarial as MLB and MLBPA have been over the years that something seemingly as important as draft rules would be negotiated but not explicitly laid out in the CBA.
   134. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 07:16 PM (#4317145)
If they're not part of the bargaining unit, then don't they have a pretty clear antitrust case against MLB? Is it just the fact that the Curt Flood Act only acted as a carveout for Major League Players that's preventing this? If Flood v. Kuhn had gone the other way, then the minor league players would have a pretty strong antitrust case, yes?

It's been a long time since I read up on those laws and cases. My understanding is that but for Flood v. Kuhn, MiLB players might have an antitrust case against MLB, and that they'd have a stronger case than they would against the MLBPA in a "duty of fair representation" claim. But to quote the great Dennis Miller, "Of course, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

And because they're not part of the MLB bargaining unit, they'd be able to unionize if they so wished?

Right. MiLB players have been free to unionize for decades, but efforts have been minimal and have always fallen flat.

***
Please understand: I'm not trying to be obtuse, but it's beyond me that as advorsarial as MLB and MLBPA have been over the years that something seemingly as important as draft rules would be negotiated but not explicitly laid out in the CBA.

I understand. I agree that it's odd, but it's still not confirmed that the draft changes aren't in the CBA. It's possible that changes to the ML Rules are considered to be part of the CBA or that the ML Rules are otherwise incorporated into the CBA. It's also possible that the CBA has been amended by attachment since this PDF was posted. (Interestingly, the very last attachment is "Attachment 46, International Amateur Talent," which, unlike most of the other attachments, is a non-memorandum attachment. Perhaps the International section was included in the CBA, and not just in Rule 3, because there's a sunset provision?)
   135. Srul Itza Posted: December 04, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4317160)
What has not been discussed is the "labor law" exemption to the anti-trust rules. That is what makes draft "legal" -- CBA's are largely exempt from anti-trust, even if they affect people who are not yet part of the union. That is why CBA's, for example, can create two-tier wage and pension scales, which lower the benefits of new workers.

The fact that they have agreed on a draft does not mean that they have to bargain each and every element of the draft, if they choose not to.

As for limits on the amount to be paid to the draftees -- why would the MLB fight over that? They would prefer that money to go into their pocket, than into the pockets of guys who may never even play a meaningful inning in the major leagues.
   136. bibigon Posted: December 04, 2012 at 08:08 PM (#4317203)
Srul, that's the non-statutory antitrust exemption that I mentioned. It would not apply here however because the players are not part of the bargaining group. The non-statutory exemption only kicks in to protect things properly covered by collective bargaining. Since the minor league players have not collectively bargained, they should still be allowed to file an antitrust action if not for Flood v. Kuhn.
   137. Joe Kehoskie Posted: December 04, 2012 at 09:34 PM (#4317237)
By the way, even though we've been beating up on Dan R. in this thread, I'm glad he posts his articles here. They've often been a jumping-off point for interesting discussions.
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