Major League Baseball and its players’ union were unable to agree on the details of an international amateur draft before Monday’s deadline, and thus the status quo will continue in the sport.
Despite calls to reform an existing system that some say preys on Latin American children, amateur players outside the United States and Canada will continue to enter affiliate baseball through free agency. And the qualifying offer system, in which draft pick compensation is assigned to certain major league free agents, will remain in place.
“The players made it clear from the outset that any international draft must significantly improve the status quo for those players and not unfairly discriminate between those players and domestic entrants,” the MLB Players Association said, in part, in a statement. the Monday in the afternoon.
The league responded in a statement, in part: “We are disappointed that the MLBPA chose the status quo rather than transition to an international draft that would have guaranteed future international players higher signing bonuses and better educational opportunities, while that improves transparency to better address root causes. of corruption in the current system.
When MLB and the union had their contentious negotiations for a new labor agreement last offseason, a decision on the international draft had to be postponed to avoid delaying the start of the regular season. MLB effectively offered the union a trade: the introduction of an international amateur draft in 2024, which the league has long wanted but the union has long resisted, in exchange for the elimination of the draft pick compensation system. , which according to the union harms the players. ‘ market value.
The parties had months to examine the complex issue, solicit input from people in the many affected countries, build support, and modify their offers. The union made another offer on Saturday, while MLB responded with what it called its best and final offer on Sunday.
MLB had proposed a 20-round draft for international fans beginning in 2024 that would include $191 million in spending for the top 600 picks (which it said was $24 million more than the current system). The league’s proposed system would have set strict rules around the bonuses allocated to each pick, a $20,000 cap on signing undrafted free agents and a guarantee of at least $5,000 in scholarships for all players.
The union had responded with a 20-round draft that included $260 million in spending for the top 600 picks. The union’s proposal had looser rules on assigned bonuses, a $40,000 cap on signing undrafted free agents and a host of measures it said could improve player education, combat corruption and provide safeguards against players from various countries who they are not missed on examination.
The union, in contact with player leaders during negotiations, is not required to hold a full player vote, and did not do so on Monday because the gap between the two proposals was too significant, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. negotiations that he was not authorized to speak in public.
The union, for example, felt there was still too big a discrepancy in spending and top job sizes between MLB’s existing domestic amateur draft, for players who at least finished high school, and its proposed international draft.
MLB has said it has wanted to review the international free-agent system, in which kids as young as 16 can sign with all 30 league clubs, due to concerns about corruption, use of performance-enhancing drugs and verbal agreements with children much younger than allowed. particularly in the Dominican Republic. Some of the best scouts and trainers in the DR agreed.
The league was met with resistance from the union and players who didn’t want to give up free agency for international amateur players and who argued that it was the people paying the check (league and team officials) who weren’t doing it. enough to stop any embezzlement. . Although several current and former MLB players were against the draft, they called for reforms to better enforce the rules, protect children and improve their educational opportunities.
“In essence, each of our proposals focused on guarding against the scenario all players fear most: the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the latest casualty in baseball’s prioritization of efficiency. about basic fairness. the union said in its statement. “The league’s responses fell far short of anything the players might consider fair treatment.”