MLB and union have Monday deadline for draft international deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball made what was called a “final offer” for an international draft, raising the money offered for the first year in 2024 from $10 million on Sunday to $191 million. .

The move came a day after the players’ association made a proposal that stayed at $260 million and left the parties out before a Monday night midnight EDT deadline for a deal.

Because an international draft was tied in the March lockout settlement to the removal of direct compensation for qualified free agents, those negotiations will begin to determine the market for a group of free agents that includes Anthony Rizzo, JD Martinez , Chris Sale and Charlie Morton.

While the loss of draft picks hasn’t stopped teams from chasing top free agents since the current system began in 2012 — this year’s roster includes Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Trea Turner — a slightly lower tier has been impacted. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel delayed signings in 2019 until June, after draft pick compensation was no longer attached.

« We want to do whatever it takes to make sure these guys get good deals and good contracts, » New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, who makes part of the union’s eight-man executive sub-committee. « But we also want to make sure that the guys who come into the game are also taken care of, are put in a good situation in a good place. »

The trading moves were leaked to The Associated Press by two people familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because public comment was not permitted.

MLB proposed last July 28 that a 2024 international draft include spending of $181 million for the top 600 players and $190 million in total, compared to $166 million for the 2021 signing period. MLB’s proposal contained hard slots, which for 2024 would award $5,512,500 for the first pick to $2,625,000 for the 10th overall.

The players waited until early July to make a counter-offer. They proposed a draft be allocated $260 million for the 2024 signing period, with teams having to secure slot values ​​while having the ability to top them in bonus pools, the people said.

The union estimates spending on the amateur draft will be more than $300 million by 2024. The players have also offered a deal that includes a guaranteed number of jobs and signings for international amateurs.

« The players have been willing to have a conversation, despite the fact that there are players on either side of the equation, » union leader Tony Clark said ahead of the All-Star Game. « But everyone can agree that the system that should be considered here, especially in a draft world, must be much better than what has otherwise been considered so far. »

An amateur draft was established for residents of the United States and Canada in 1965 and expanded to residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico in 1990. The players’ association agreed to a signing structure of bonus pools with penalties which began in 2012, and international amateurs were subject to a similar but different bonus pool system.

MLB pushed for an international draft in the negotiations, arguing it would reduce corruption, especially in the Dominican Republic. MLB hopes a draft will weed out players who make deals before they are eligible to sign — either 16 or 15 if the player turns 16 later in the signing window.

“Our concern and I think it has been well documented over time are situations where clubs commit to players before they are technically of signing age, whether there are individuals involved in these negotiations that take some of the really important part of the compensation that really should go to the highest ranked player,” Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

The Atlanta Braves lost 13 prospects and former general manager John Coppolella was banned for life by Major League Baseball in 2017.

“You have two ways to handle rule violations,” Manfred said. “You can investigate and try to find out what happened in each individual situation. We tried that for a number of years — it didn’t work very well. That’s just a lot of transactions you have to chase. The other way is transparency, and that’s why we like the idea of ​​the project. If you don’t know which club will get the rights to the player, there’s no point in getting an early deal, is there? »

Union officials said the corruption was partly caused by teams willing to pay money in violation of the rules.

« It’s easy to say it’s the people who paid the check, that they’re involved in the corruption, » Manfred said. « But someone takes the check, right? »

If an international draft is not accepted, a team signing a qualified free agent would still lose one or more picks in the next amateur draft and have their international signing bonus pool reduced.

Either way, a team losing a free agent could earn an additional draft pick, depending on several conditions.

Some older players could see their markets limited if they turn down eligible offers — last year’s figure was $18.4 million, the average of the top 125 deals by average annual value.

A resolution is not expected before the deadline.

« At least from my perspective, we’re still not there, » Lindor said.


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