Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Major League Baseball's Top 10 CBA Related Issues: #1 Reforming The Amateur Draft with Hard Slotting

We are only a few hours away from the first pitch of Baseball's Fall Classic, which will be followed by what looks to be an eventful offseason.  Like the NFL and NBA, Major League Baseball's current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 11, 2011.  I am going to go out on a limb here and make a bold prediction that because Commissioner Selig's ire is directed on one of his own, in Dodger Owner Frank McCourt, and his professional relationship with Union Head Michael Weiner, we, for once, will likely not see a NBA/NFL style lockout in Major League. Moreover, Baseball has gone through a Renaissance where their revenue sharing structure has worked and Baseball continues to maintain its competitiveness across the board, where most owners and players are happy with the pay structure and there is no threat of a salary cap. Nonetheless, there are some modifications that Commissioner Selig will likely press the MLBPA and Union to enhance the competitive balance and entertainment value within the game.  Here is my educated guess as to what will be the main points of discussion in the upcoming bargaining sessions:

1. Reforming the Amateur Draft and Hard Slotting:  This will likely be the biggest battle waged, as Player Agents, errr I mean, Advisors,  have the most to lose.  Selig wants to reform this process because signing bonuses have been increasing each year, which causes smaller market teams to pass on better players for players they know they will be able to sign within their budgets.  This allows the big market teams to obtain the rights and throw big money to a player who should have been drafted with a higher pick.  There is no better example than when the Dodgers drafted the "unsignable" but highly talented Zack Lee as the 28th pick in 2010 draft by convincing Lee to give up LSU Football for Dodger Blue in return for a $5.25 million signing bonus. A hard slot within the draft would cap the amount of bonus money that a player can receive dependent on what round and what pick they are selected with.  Currently, the Commissioner's Office gives recommendations of how much a team should spend on a certain slot, but the teams are not required to abide by the recommendations. 

Next up, I will discuss another draft reform with the implementation of a worldwide draft.

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