July 25 is the deadline for Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to come to an agreement on an international player draft, which would replace the current international signing system and end the qualifying-offer system for big league free agents. The two sides have been in negotiations for weeks, and ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez (all via Twitter links) reports that counter-proposals were exchanged within the last two days. The union put forth a new offer on Saturday, and the league quickly countered again today with what MLB said was a final offer.
“There was some movement on the money,” Gonzalez writes, with the league increasing its offer from a $181MM bonus pool for the top 600 players to $191MM. Of course, this is still well below the $260MM bonus pool the MLBPA was and is still seeking, and there wasn’t any word on whether or not the league’s new proposal involved fixed slot prices. According to past reports, the union wanted slot prices acting only as minimum expenditures for the assigned selections, whereas MLB wanted hard slots that couldn’t be exceeded for any pick.
Also, the two sides differed on the amount of money available for signings of undrafted players, as the MLBPA wanted a $40K limit and MLB wanted only $20K. This other financial aspect was one of many differences floated between the union and the league (as illustrated by The Athletic’s Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal), and it isn’t known if any common ground on these issues has been reached.
There are definitely still some hurdles, as Gonzalez notes that the MLBPA “still isn’t satisfied with some of the other aspects of the league’s proposal.” With less than 24 hours to go until the deadline, it would seem unlikely that a deal will be reached on the creation of an international draft, considering that the two sides remain some distance apart. Then again, back in March, it didn’t seem like a new collective bargaining agreement was going to be reached in time to avoid the cancellation of games, but the two sides were rather quickly able to make up a lot of ground in order to launch a shortened version of Spring Training and a full 162-game schedule.
The question of the international draft was the last outstanding issue from the offseason’s CBA talks, as the two sides agreed on the broader new collective bargaining agreement in March in order to end the lockout, and talks resumed this summer about the possibility of the draft. If no agreement is reached, the current rules regarding the international signing system and qualifying offers would remain in place through the term of the new CBA, which expires following the 2026 season.
Beyond just acting as the last vestige of the CBA negotiations, the talks also have a sizable impact on baseball business as a whole. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden observes that with the international talent-acquisition process and QO-related draft compensation undecided, teams have been waiting until after tomorrow’s deadline to propose major trade offers, as clubs want to be sure about their future avenues to obtaining young talent before considering moving any current prospects at the August 2 trade deadline.
I really don’t understand why the payers union has anything to do with this subject. They don’t represent any international players. They don’t represent any minor league players. And they’ve done nothing to improve the lives of minor leaguers.
So why does this need “collective bargained”?
Because the Qualifying Offer will be affected. Also the union is realizing that the more they can get for new signees and minor leaguers, the more it will affect what major leaguers can expect.
Go look at a team’s full international FA class and compare it to their Rule 4 draft class. They are both very similar in the size and distribution of bonuses across each class, largely because they both run on a pool system where the bonus pools are basically the same size
The international draft, if anything, would dilute bonuses. This has nothing to do with getting higher bonuses for minor leaguers.
That’s just not true… The largest IFA bonus pool any team has is 6.2 million. Every team except the Dodgers and Giants who lost picks had a larger draft pool than that. MLBPA is pushing for substantial funding increases like IFA has never seen before. You could argue they’re getting greedy at this point because 260 million or whatever it is they’re asking for would basically double what’s normally spent.
If players wanted higher salaries/bonuses, they’d prevent the international draft from being implemented, as well as abolish the existing draft (it will never happen).
Maybe the Top 5% who end up getting the bonuses capped but everybody else benefits from it.
@Yay – How does everyone else benefit from it exactly? Being able to market yourself to 30 clubs is a wildly different thing than being relegated to the 1 club that drafts you. If there were no draft, and no cap on what a NDFA can sign for, everyone would benefit – they’d get what the market rate rewards. This is exactly why MLB implemented pools in the first place and now is trying to implement a draft – they see signing bonuses skyrocketing and want to stop it.
Having said that, large payroll clubs would pluck up most of the good talent by outbidding every other team and MLB would diverge into having 8 good teams and 22 terrible teams every year without a draft system.
The alternative is owners get to set their own prices with no one looking out for the 16 year old who’s entire life has been built around getting signed at this age to play baseball..? Hmm, what could go wrong with that scenario?
The MLBPA has already allowed the gutting of international signing bonuses and negotiated to prevent draftees from signing major league contracts; taking piles of guaranteed money out of player’s pockets. If I were a young international player they are the last people I’d want negotiating on my behalf.
The issue becomes holding 16 year old international players essentially hostage in negotiations.
What they are trying to prevent is drafting a 16 year old and paying them significantly under their slot value. These teens have no choice. They either sit out a year and re-enter or force to sign. They have significantly less leverage than say an American high schooler who can either sign, go to JUCO or go to D-1. There is some negotiating power for players (unless you are a d-1 senior).
This is one reason they are requesting a hard floor for slot value. It prevents teams like the A’s from drafting a guy 3rd overall with a 4 mil slot value and then only offering 500K.
No one is twisting their arm to sign. Money is ruining this game. What the hell is enough? It really gets stupid for a family to go to the ball park now. And how many of these athletes actually earn their pay? Too many go on take the money and run types.
Let all the owner’s keep the money then.
Go yell at the clouds
Lol, you think owners would reduce the price for your family to attend a game if they spent less on payroll. That’s super funny, and not how the world works. They charge what you are willing to spend, not a penny more or less.
This is one of the reasons why baseball is todays 5th best sport now. Smh. They truly got a big dope running the show.
I don’t care if it’s the 400th most popular sport. I don’t care about baseball because of how popular it is, in fact, quite the opposite. Let the Maxed Singer, Prancing with Stars, America’s Got Talons, Big Bother, Game of Toilets, Nunja Wartior, Blobbity Blah Blah dominate television. I just need to periodically check the scores. I sure as hell won’t go to an MLB game anytime soon. Waste of time and money. I guess I’m just not the fan I used to be.
@whyhayzee- who really is the same fan they used to be? It’s sad because baseball like I said, doesn’t have to be the 5th best sport, but it is. Soccer and Woman’s Volleyball have skyrocketed right past baseball now. (Just don’t watch the woman’s volleyball with the wifey around) a big mistake.
I actually love watching athletes regardless of gender. I’m not some insecure male who needs to remind himself that men are stronger. Women’s volleyball is just like baseball, keep your eye on the ball and you’ll stay out of trouble. 😉
Too Bad! What would bring you back?
Numbers to back this up, please, Captain. Based on revenue, MLB is the second largest sport in the world, only behind the NFL. I’m having a hard time believing women’s volleyball has eclipsed MLB. Follow the money for the answer.
@whyhayzee- I promise my eyes are always on the ball, and not the balls the whole time. I just can’t watch 4 sweaty guys playing volleyball diving in a speedo or thong, that just doesn’t work for me. Not insecure, it’s just not my thing. I’m A-Ok with all of that.
5th best sport, according to? You
You don’t like to watch Woman’s volleyball? That’s a lst. Being a Friars fan like @Javia135- why am I not really that surprised? Smh
Got to agree, they have no business in this process
They going to have a firm rule for international players vax status? You know, 1 that somehow trumps any and all country’s mandates/laws/rules/guidelines..?
Once Manfred’s army conquers all nations and unites everyone under an MLB government, sure, he can overrule nations on such matters.
“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”
— Rita Mae Brown
Thomas E Snyder
(See Verlander, Justin.)
– 6.9 trillion college students
I wouldn’t assume a deal won’t be reached. A lot of ground can be made up in the final hours. That’s how these things work.
The MLBPA would like to eliminate the QO system, but I’m not sure how much they’re bothered by it. It may not be enough to trade it for an international draft. I’d be looking for much greater concessions from MLB than the simple elimination of QO’s.
There are valid concerns on both sides here, so I wouldn’t be surprised with either resolution tomorrow.
The PA has seemingly figured out that the game right now is to get more money to younger and less experienced players. The owners are squeezing every bit out-of players before are and before free agency, the promise of big paydays in free agency is only really there for half a percent of the players.
Getting rid of the QO would be theoretically nice but most players getting it are able to get a contract despite it. It will positively affect maybe 5 players each year. Where the Intenrnational Draft would affect hundreds. And those hundreds are significantly more vulnerable.
I think they are bothered by it. Some fringe guys with a QO attached to them become less valuable as a FA.
It’s not just that. The QO has a trickle down effect of suppressing salaries generally that the MLBPA cares about beyond just those individual situations.
Every time you have a Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales, or Dallas Keuchel situation where the player has to sit out until the draft happens to then just sign a pro-rated 1 year deal, that’s one less big deal setting precedent and increasing the market around the league.
@LD99, I’d say the PA is bothered enough that they’d like to see the qualifying offer removed, but it’s the balance between wanting it eliminated vs implementing an international draft. LA players are understandably concerned, probably more so than they are with the qualifying offer.
I think they’ll either get a deal or if they’re close they’ll extend negotiations another day. Or maybe the PA, knowing how much owners want an international draft to control costs and make more money, will opt to kick the can down the road and make this the central item in the next CBA, figuring the owners will give concessions elsewhere. We’ll know in a few hours.
What time is the deadline?
I don’t feel there should be an International Draft. The owners are just trying to acquire more talent as cheaply as possible.
Actually, the proposed $191 million works out to 6.367 million per team, which is in line with the current highest tier of international bonus allocation.
It would be more money for the players. The draft would just provide a more streamlined process so it’s not just the wild west.
I just wonder about Korean youngsters. If they subject themselves to the draft they may face a ‘life time ban’ from KBO though Choo cerntainly was allowed to go back.
The League is trying to prevent teams from manipulating the international players signings. The Braves were the most recent and biggest cheaters on that matter. The Red Sox, Dodgers and Padres have also gotten caught doing something dirty handed with international signings.
It would be more money for the IFA players – now – but it would ultimately restrict the growth of said bonuses. It’s why MLB is trying to implement it, they see bonuses skyrocketing.
Take the international draft and add it to the regular draft. Why does baseball require 2 different drafts when other sports all use 1?
Because baseball players have refused that while all other sports have agreed.
I think it’s important context that baseball in the 20th century had way more foreign players than any other major US sports did back then. So the baseball PA was more persistent on international issues that other sports unions barely cared about.
The drafting and development process is much different in MLB than it is in the other sports. Just look at the entire minor league system and how long it takes to reach MLB. That doesn’t exist in the NFL. In North America, baseball players can’t be drafted until they’re finished high school at 17 or 18, although most head off to college on scholarships. Many also come from wealthy families who can afford to have their kids be part of travel teams.
Now, compare that to Latin America, where in many countries these kids often don’t even graduate schools, and they’re being scouted and making commitments to teams at 14 and 15. In the U.S,. MLB teams can’t sign American kids at 14 or 15, but now we’re going to merge the two? Unlike the U.S, where a high percentage are coming from middle class and upper middle calls families, these kids in LA are coming from poor families. They’re out of school in their early to mid-teens and they aren’t heading off to university. Where are they going for several years if you want to combine the draft classes, and how are you going to have 14, 15 and 16-year-olds competing for draft dollars vs. 18-22 year-old North American kids, even ignoring the legality issues. Unfortunately, this has led to an entirely corrupt system throughout LA in how these kids are controlled. The system needs to be fixed, but it’s not as simple as merging two very distinct class types. There are significant cultural aspects at play that almost all baseball fans in North America don’t fully comprehend or want to understand.
Most of the players from Latin America are against an international draft, especially as it was being discussed during the last CBA without much LA representation on the committees. That has changed. Black participation in MLB began to collapse after the introduction of the North American amateur draft in the mid-60s. It eventually began to decline in Puerto Rico when Puerto Rico was added to the North American draft. LA players are rightly concerned it will collapse there if there was a singular draft. Changes do need to be made, but a one-sized-fits-all draft will be destructive. Can’t just flip a switch and it will all work, so they’re attempting now to create a new international draft that will try to address many of the issues. It won’t be easy.
Anything the players union wants more money for is directly coming from the fans pocket. Either more expensive tickets or more expensive packages to watch games. You’re paying for all of the more in their proposals.
@carlos15- I haven’t even checked, but I’m sure that “baseball package” is at a discounted price of $99 for half the season? Lolololololol!!! Smh
You don’t think every owner already squeezes every penny they can out of fans. Prices aren’t set based on costs. They charge what the market will bear. The PA just wants more of that revenue to go to players
@marcfrombrooklyn- do yourself a favor buy a 6 pack at 7-11, drive to the game, take your keys out of the ignition, drink your 6 beers, then walk into the stadium with a smile on your face, since you’ve out-smarted the system.
Absolutely, @carlos. I wish tens of millions of Americans and Canadians would completely stop watching and attending games.
Billionaires fighting over scraps again.
I haven’t really heard any player who was an international signee come out in favor of an international draft. Nor do I see much of a reason for one given the spending allotments given to each team.
I fail to see this “helping” in anyway, the best players will still get the most money and guys simply are not going to sign for the slot value…
I personally think, if anything, this could push guys to play in Asia for a few years and come back and sign as an international free agent.
Asian rules dictate how many years they are subject to play before reaching Free Agency (just like here in the U.S.). Also, international rules limit the # of foreign born players allowed to play yearly.