Major League Baseball and the Players Association had until tomorrow to work out the particulars of an international draft for 2014, but it looks like one more day wasn’t going to do it. Today, they announced that there will be no international draft in 2014. Here’s MLB’s statement:
The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have discussed various issues regarding international amateur players, including the possibility of an international draft. While both parties discussed an international draft, an agreement was not reached on some of the mechanics and procedures related to such a draft. Thus, an international draft will not be implemented in 2014. The parties intend to continue to discuss international amateur talent issues, and the current system of international talent acquisition as described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in place at this time.
There were so many moving parts involved in getting a draft together by next year – country labor issues, registration issues, testing issues, financial issues, etc. – that it is, on one level, not surprising that the international draft has been delayed for some amount of time. On the other hand, there’s a sense that an international draft is inevitable, and it seemed like now was the time to get the ball rolling.
So, for now, the bonus pool system will remain in effect, subject to some changes to the penalties.
MLB and the MLBPA planted a poison pill in the CBA ostensibly to ensure that an international draft was implemented by 2014. Since it was not, the poison will now kick in. Essentially, the penalties for exceeding your bonus pool, beginning in 2014, will increase to:
- A 100% tax on the overage from 0 to 5% (up from 75%)
- A 100% tax on the overage from 5% to 10% (up from 75%), and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $500,000
- A 100% tax on the overage from 10% to 15%, and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next signing period with a bonus in excess of $300,000 (down from $500,000)
- A 100% tax on the overage from 15% and up, and the loss of the right to provide any player in the next two signing periods with a bonus in excess of $300,000 (previously it was just one bonus period)
As you can see, the sides were supposed to get a deal done. They didn’t, and now you’re punished even more harshly for exceeding your pool.
Arguably, the delay of an international draft is good news for the Cubs, who just opened a state-of-the-art facility in the Dominican Republic. Under a draft, the Cubs’ ability to leverage that facility into signing the top prospects – or finding diamonds in the rough – would be slightly reduced. Slightly.