MLB and Union scrap plan for international draft

Major League Baseball and its players’ union failed to agree on the specifics of the international amateur draft by Monday’s deadline, and so the status quo will continue in the sport.

Despite calls to reform the current system, which some argue will benefit Latin American kids, aspiring players from outside the United States and Canada will continue to enter baseball through free agency. And the qualifying offer system, in which draft-pick compensation is awarded to some major league free agents, will remain in place.

“The players have made it clear from the beginning that any international draft must substantially improve the status quo for these players and not differentiate between those players and domestic entrants,” the MLB Players Association said in part in a statement Monday afternoon.

The league responded in part in a statement: “We are disappointed that the MLBPA chose the status quo rather than move to an international draft that would have guaranteed future international players larger signing bonuses and better educational opportunities while increasing transparency to eliminate the best causes.” About the corruption in the existing system”.

With MLB and the union in contentious negotiations for a new labor agreement this past season, a decision on the international draft had to be delayed to avoid delaying the start of the regular season. MLB actually offered the union a trade: the introduction of an international amateur draft in 2024, something the league had long wanted but the union had long resisted, in exchange for eliminating a draft pick compensation system that the union argued was hurting players. ‘ market value.

The parties have had months to study the complex topic, solicit input from people in affected countries, build support and refine proposals. The union made another offer Saturday, and MLB countered with what it called its final and best offer Sunday.

MLB has proposed a 20-round draft for internationals starting in 2024 that includes $191 million for the top 600 picks (which it says is $24 million more than the current system). The league’s proposed system would have imposed strict rules on bonuses awarded for each pick, a $20,000 cap on undrafted free agent signings and at least a $5,000 guaranteed scholarship for every player.

The union contested a 20-round draft involving $260 million in spending for the top 600 picks. The union’s proposal had tougher rules on bonuses awarded, a $40,000 cap on undrafted free agent signings and a number of measures it believed would improve player education, fight corruption and provide protections against players from different countries being overlooked during scouting.

The union, which has been in contact with player leaders throughout the 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 so significant, negotiators said. There was no right to speak in public.

For example, according to the union, there was still too great a disparity in costs and slot sizes between MLB’s existing domestic amateur draft for players who have completed at least high school and its proposed international draft.

MLB has said it wants to overhaul the international free agent system, in which kids under the age of 16 can sign with the league’s 30 clubs, because of corruption, performance-enhancing drug use and oral agreements with kids much younger than allowed. Especially in the Dominican Republic. Some of the top scouts and trainers in the DR agreed.

The league faced opposition from the union and players who didn’t want to give up free agency to international amateur players and who argued that the very people who were cutting the paychecks — league and team officials — weren’t doing enough to stop any wrongdoing. . Although several current and former MLB players opposed the project, they called for reforms to better enforce the rules, protect children and improve their educational opportunities.

“Fundamentally, each of our proposals has focused on protecting against the scenario every player fears most – the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the latest victims of baseball’s prioritization of efficiency over fundamental fairness.” The union said in a statement. “The league’s responses fell far short of what players might consider a fair deal.”

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