Discussion: Should MLB Limit Signing Bonuses?

There is no hard limit on the bonuses teams can award the players they draft, just a recommended capESPN.com's Buster Olney reported yesterday that some GMs wonder whether the draft actually helps bad teams. As he says, the Padres knew how good Justin Verlander was when they chose Matt Bush instead, they just wanted a signable player. 

Can we improve the game by limiting the bonuses amateur players can receive? Changing the current system would be complicated and controversial, as Scott Boras and others don't want restrictions on the bonuses they can negotiate for their clients (Stephen Strasburg comes to mind). So what would happen if MLB limited bonuses?

  • Such a change would transfer money and power to teams from amateur players and their agents.
  • Teams would be more likely to select the most talented players, instead of going for a combination of talent and signability.
  • Players like Rick Porcello would be less likely to slide, since teams would be less wary of the bonuses they might demand.  
  • Agents would receive less money when brokering deals for their amateur clients. 
  • There wouldn't be nearly as much drama and uncertainty surrounding the negotiatons. 

Is it in the best interest of the game to restrict player bonuses? Some would do away with the draft altogether. Or should we leave the current system alone and just enjoy the games?


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