Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron reports that Major League Baseball emailed all 30 teams today to announce that, effective following this year’s draft, players selected in the amateur draft will be permitted to be traded beginning the day after the conclusion of the World Series.
The change is a much-needed revamp of the previous iteration, which had prohibited clubs from trading players for one year after being drafted. However, because the rules regarding players to be named later (PTBNLs) stated that teams had six months to determine the PTBNL in question, a loophole had been exploited in which prospects from the most recent draft were simply included as a PTBNL in trades that occurred more than six months after the draft in which they were selected.
In order to prevent any further loopholes, MLB has explicitly stated that any PTBNL must be eligible to be traded at the time the trade is agreed upon. In other words, draftees cannot be included as PTBNLs between their draft and the completion of the World Series.
The most recent example of this, of course, is Padres 2014 first-rounder Trea Turner. It’s one of the worst-kept secrets in baseball that Turner, selected 13th overall by the Padres, will be revealed as the PTBNL in the three-team Wil Myers/Steven Souza trade. Turner will be officially eligible to be traded to the Nationals in early June, but he’s spent the entirety of Spring Training and the early portion of the season with the Padres organization due to the previous iteration of rules.
Via Cameron, the official wording of the email sent by the league is as follows:
Please be advised that the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association have agreed to amend the Major League Rules in advance of this year’s Rule 4 Draft with respect to players-to-be-named-later (“PTBNLs”) under Rule 12(e)(2), and the trading of draft picks under Rule 3(b)(6). …commencing with players eligible for the 2015 Rule 4 Draft, (a) players selected in the Draft may be traded beginning on the day following the conclusion of the World Series, and (b) drafted players cannot be PTBNLs unless they otherwise could be traded pursuant to Rule 3(b)(6), as amended, at the time of the trade.
Turner’s situation certainly isn’t the first in which a recent draftee has been used as a PTBNL while waiting for official clearance to be included in a trade. For example, just one year ago, the Pirates acquired Ike Davis from the Mets in exchange for righty Zack Thornton and a PTBNL, who was later (on June 15) revealed to be 2013 second-round left-hander Blake Taylor.
As Cameron notes, the rule change does little for Turner, as it takes effect only in regards to players eligible in the 2015 Rule 4 (June amateur) draft. He’ll remain in development with the Padres until, presumably, June 6 — the day after the one-year anniversary of the 2014 amateur draft.