“There were a lot of meetings and they listened to us,” Cruz, 42, who is from the Dominican Republic, said of the union. “A lot of Latino players were involved.”
MLB has said it wants to review the international free-agent system, in which children as young as 16 can sign with teams, due to concerns about corruption, use of performance-enhancing drugs and verbal agreements with children much younger than allowed. , particularly in the Dominican Republic. The Caribbean island has produced more baseball players than any other country outside of the US.
But the union, whose previous proposals to modify the existing international entry system were rejected by MLB, has pointed to teams’ front offices and scouts as the culprit. After the new labor agreement was signed in March, Tony Clark, the union’s executive director and a former player, called the challenges of the current system “primarily associated with those who are cutting paychecks.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred responded last month, telling reporters: “Our efforts to control corruption in the Dominican Republic have been ongoing and numerous. It is easy to say that it is the people who pay the check, that they are involved in the corruption. But, you know, someone is taking the check, right?
MLB has proposed a 20-round draft for international fans starting in 2024 that would include $181 million in spending for the top 600 picks, strict rules on the bonuses allocated for each pick and a $20,000 cap on signing undrafted free agents. The union responded last week with a 20-round draft that included $260 million in spending for the top 600 picks, looser rules on assigned bonuses, a $40,000 cap on signing undrafted free agents and a series of measures it deemed They could improve the players. ‘ development and education.
(After an amateur player signs with a team, the union does not represent him until he is on a 40-man Major League roster.)