Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association remain “very far apart” on negotiations concerning the implementation and format of an international draft, according to ESPN’s Alden González. The two sides deferred on the issue in March when they reached a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That deferral came with a deadline, however, and that deadline (July 25) is now just weeks away.
González notes that the league originally offered a 20-round draft with hard slotting, with $181 million going toward draftees and a $20,000 limit on free agents. The union countered with a 20-round proposal that includes no cap on individual slots, with a request for $260 million going toward draftees, and a $40,000 limit on free agents.
For those keeping score, that means the two sides are $79 million apart in the total draft bonus pool size, as well as $20,000 off on the free-agent limit. They also disagree about the hard-slotting aspect.
Should the two sides fail to reach agreement on an international draft format by the deadline, then the qualifying offer and free-agent compensation systems will remain in place. If the sides do come to terms on an international draft format, then the qualifying offer and free-agent compensation will go away.
The league has claimed it wants to install the draft in order to more fairly allocate talent among teams and to curb abuses in the amateur free-agent market — including the prevalence of players agreeing to contracts when they’re 13 or 14 years old, several birthdays before they’re eligible to sign.
As our Mike Axisa noted in March, there is a financial component to the whole matter: The main purpose any given draft is to serve as a cost-saving mechanism for teams.