Home System concept MLBPA rejects MLB’s draft international proposal

MLBPA rejects MLB’s draft international proposal



The Major League Baseball Players Association did not accept MLB’s proposal for an international draft on Monday, which means the qualification offer system so hated by high-end free agents will remain in place – at least for the moment.

If players had accepted a draft to replace the free-for-all signing of young players that exists in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and elsewhere, teams would no longer be penalized with a draft pick for signing a top free agent, according to the players. limits the number of marquee free agent contenders each offseason.

Representatives of team owners and union leaders have repeatedly traded proposals for an international draft in recent weeks, though the discrepancy in the amount of money MLB was offering to commit to paying players in a potential draft ($191 million in bonus pools) was far less than what the union had said it wanted ($260 million), according to people familiar with the proposals. On Sunday, MLB representatives sent the union what they described as a “final” proposal, a take-it-or-leave-it offer falling within Monday’s deadline. The players did not accept it.

“Basically, each of our proposals was focused on protecting against the scenario all players fear most – the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the latest victim of baseball’s prioritization. to efficiency rather than fundamental fairness,” the MLBPA said in a statement. “The League’s responses fell far short of anything the players could consider a fair deal.”

Union management informed their player representatives of the offer on Sunday and informed them that they did not believe the proposal was acceptable, according to people familiar with the situation.

MLB officials argue their draft proposal, which would create new barriers to backroom deals and secure millions in signing bonuses under the new structure, is better than the status quo. They cite the $191 million in guaranteed premiums in their proposal, more than is currently spent in the international system, as evidence of this.

The international draft emerged as a talking point this offseason as negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement dragged on, threatening the season. As the lockout continued, the question of whether to implement an international scheme – which MLB says will address endemic corruption in the supply structures of Latin American players and some members of the union fears limit the choice and earning potential of young players – became a sticking point that threatened to prolong it indefinitely.

So as part of the final deal, the parties agreed to postpone the issue of a draft until Monday, when the union could agree to implement one and get rid of the qualifying offer system. for the next five years. If a team makes a one-year, fixed-price qualifying offer to a top-tier free agent and that free agent signs elsewhere, the team that signs it loses a draft pick and the team that loses it in won a. For now, this system will remain in place until the CBA expires after the 2026 season.

Union leaders felt that MLB’s proposal for a draft was not in the realm of acceptability. And unlike the lockout negotiations, which often wandered late into the night and ran over deadlines, this negotiation ended with a firm no by mid-afternoon.

Tony Clark, executive director of the players’ union, made it clear in an interview with reporters last week that his staff had gathered a substantial amount of player feedback on the matter and that he felt his players were well informed. on the nuances of the problem. He also said the players were open to other options to fight corruption besides a draft, though those options weren’t discussed much in negotiations with MLB.

“There hasn’t been a lot of interest in having this conversation so far. It’s just been rough, rough, rough without focusing too much on the other things that can be done,” Clark said at the time. “…We remain committed to resolving these issues, but we don’t necessarily agree that draft, draft, draft is the best or only way to do it.”

Clark and MLB officials seem to agree that corruption undermines the current signing system by favoring early deals for teenagers and allowing local coaches to funnel players to certain teams for financial gain. But the syndicate remains wary of any owner-led attempt to implement more structure in the player supply process, lest a slot-based bonus system eventually be used. to limit the earning potential, not to expand it.

Some foreign-born players have expressed concern over a draft, saying it would limit a young player’s ability to choose which team and which people will be responsible for transitioning to a new country at a young age . Other players have been more supportive of the concept of curbing corruption, although it remains to be seen to what extent a new draft might do so.

Pitching the fate of top free agents against young Latino players was a bargaining tactic used by the MLB team to stymie the union: For some players, the fate of the international system is far more personal than others. For other players, the qualification offer seems more pressing.

“[The qualifying offer] continues to have a negative effect on the market for these players. While I’m standing here, I’d like to remove it, knowing that the advantage for players who would otherwise have this qualifying offer would be enhanced,” Clark said. “[That] does not mean that we are going to mortgage the future of international players and the next generation that comes behind just to take it away. We want to move it. We promise to remove it. But we are not going to do this at the cost of further damage to the international market.