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Wednesday, July 07, 2021

What Goes on in Draft Rooms

Chairs are thrown?

Look, draft day is just plain fun and exciting. Some teams have their entire staff in suits; good food is brought in. It’s a celebration of a job well done and the anticipation of adding new players to your organization is palpable. Behind the scenes, agents have been ringing scouts and executives all day to politic and posture for their clients. Some take the calls, others let them go to voice mail; I know of one executive who turns his phone off from the morning of Day One until the first pick is made. By this time, the board is lined up and teams have spoken to the clubs ahead of them to help assess who might and might not be available by the time they are put on the clock. Some teams are forthcoming with such rumor-mill level information, others not so much. The day drags, and it feels like it takes forever for the draft to actually start in the early evening. For teams with late first round picks, there’s another two or three hours to wait between the first pick and their selection.

Then the draft finally begins. Some people are assigned magnet duty, removing each player’s magnet from the board after their name is called in order to avoid the massive embarrassment of selecting a player who has already been drafted. Picks are entered on a computer via MLB’s eBIS system, then confirmed, then announced to the public. As picks come off the board, the set of players teams are thinking about for their first pick starts to dwindle. Sometimes there are still multiple options, sometimes just one, and sometimes teams have to improvise, though rarely to the point of desperation. Everyone lines up players differently and if a team picking 15th lines up their top 15 players, chances are good that between evaluation differences and signability picks ahead of them, three to seven of those first 15 are going to be on the board for them.

As a team’s pick approaches, it’s almost time for outgoing calls to begin. There is a strategy to timing here: you don’t want to start too soon and give an agent too much time to shop your offer around, but you don’t want to start too late because you need to allow some room to get a deal done. And let’s be clear. The overwhelming majority of picks you hear on Day One of the draft are made with both sides having already agreed upon a bonus before the selection. There are reasonable rules provided by MLB as to how you’re allowed to frame those negotiations, but there is still plenty of room to allow the process to play out as it does. With somewhere between five and 15 minutes to go, the calls begin. Messaging from both sides of the table can vary wildly, but most parties are honest in their responses. Often, subtle pressure is applied by teams in the form of, “We have three guys lined up and we’re offering X dollars. You’re our top guy for this offer, but if you decline, we’re going to move to the next player on our list.” The most frequent response from agents is, “I’ll call you back in a couple of minutes.” From there, agents can respond with “yes,” “no,” a counter offer, or more information, such as “Don’t worry about my player, he’s going to go a couple picks ahead of you,” or “Don’t take my player, he has a better offer in terms of money behind you.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2021 at 01:21 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: draft

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   1. Rally Posted: July 07, 2021 at 03:42 PM (#6028106)
Some people are assigned magnet duty, removing each player’s magnet from the board after their name is called in order to avoid the massive embarrassment of selecting a player who has already been drafted

How often has this happened in the MLB draft? In fantasy football drafts just about every league has a guy who does this.
   2. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 07, 2021 at 06:47 PM (#6028174)
It's very chilly? "Hey, man, close the f%$king window...!"

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