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MLB and Union Scrap Plan for International Draft


Major League Baseball and its players’ union couldn’t agree on the specifics of a global amateur draft ahead of Monday’s deadline, and thus the established order will proceed in the game.

Despite calls to reform an existing system that some have argued takes advantage of Latin American children, amateur players outside of america and Canada will proceed to enter affiliated baseball via free agency. And the qualifying offer system, during which draft-pick compensation is assigned to certain major league free agents, will remain in place.

“Players made clear from the outset that any international draft must meaningfully improve the established order for those players and never unfairly discriminate between those players and domestic entrants,” the M.L.B. Players Association said, partially, in an announcement on Monday afternoon.

The league countered in an announcement, partially: “We’re disenchanted the M.L.B.P.A. selected the established order over transitioning to a global draft that may have guaranteed future international players larger signing bonuses and higher educational opportunities, while enhancing transparency to best address the foundation causes of corruption in the present system.”

When M.L.B. and the union had their contentious negotiations for a latest labor agreement this past off-season, a choice on the international draft needed to be deferred to avoid delaying the beginning of the regular season. M.L.B. effectively offered the union a trade: the introduction of a global amateur draft in 2024, which the league has long wanted however the union has long resisted, in return for the elimination of the draft-pick compensation system, which the union argued hurt players’ market value.

The perimeters had months to look at the complex topic, solicit input from people in the numerous countries affected, construct support and tweak their offers. The union made one other proposal on Saturday, while M.L.B. countered with what it called its final and best offer Sunday.

M.L.B. had proposed a draft of 20 rounds for international amateurs starting in 2024 that may include $191 million in spending for the highest 600 picks (which it said was $24 million greater than the present system). The league’s proposed system would have placed hard rules on the assigned bonuses for every pick, a limit of $20,000 for signing undrafted free agents and a guarantee of at the very least $5,000 in scholarship money for all players.

The union had countered with a 20-round draft that included $260 million in spending for the highest 600 picks. The union’s proposition had looser rules on the assigned bonuses, a limit of $40,000 for signing undrafted free agents, and a series of measures it felt could improve players’ education, combat corruption and supply safeguards against players from various countries being missed in scouting.

The union, in contact with player leaders throughout the negotiations, isn’t required to carry a full player vote, and it didn’t on Monday since the gap between the 2 proposals was too significant, in keeping with an individual conversant in the negotiations who wasn’t authorized to talk publicly.

The union, for instance, felt there was still too large of a discrepancy in spending and top slot sizes between M.L.B.’s existing domestic amateur draft, for players who at the very least finished highschool, and its proposed international draft.

M.L.B. has said it has desired to overhaul the international free agent system, during which children as young as 16 can sign with the league’s 30 clubs, due to concerns over corruption, performance-enhancing drug use and verbal agreements with children much younger than allowed, particularly within the Dominican Republic. Some top scouts and trainers within the D.R. agreed.

The league met resistance from the union and players who didn’t want to provide up the free agency of international amateur players and who argued that it was the people cutting the check — league and team officials — who weren’t doing enough to stop any malfeasance. Despite the fact that several current and former M.L.B. players were against the draft, they called for reforms to raised implement the foundations, protect children and improve their educational opportunities.

“At their core, each of our proposals was focused on protecting against the scenario that every one players fear probably the most — the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the most recent victim in baseball’s prioritization of efficiency over fundamental fairness,” the union said in its statement. “The league’s responses fell well in need of anything players could consider a good deal.”

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