MLB Players Union Rejects League International Draft Proposal

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s goal of an international amateur draft was thwarted again when the players’ union rejected management’s final offer Monday and withheld direct draft pick compensation for free agents.

The peculiar link between the two provisions was established in the March 10 agreement that ended the 99-day lockout and preserved a 162-game season. The sides gave each other until July 25 to reach an agreement on an international draft, which MLB has sought since 2002, specifying that the draft pick provision would be removed in the event of a deal.

There was little movement during the four months. The union made an offer during a Zoom meeting on Saturday, and MLB laid out what it called its final proposal in an email on Sunday. Union officials sent that plan to the players’ executive board and said they planned to reject it.

Hearing no opposition, union deputy executive director Bruce Meyer phoned deputy commissioner Dan Halem with the rejection around 3:45 pm EDT Monday.

The decision, announced about eight hours before the deadline, was the final step needed to complete the collective bargaining agreement that expires Dec. 1, 2016. Withholding compensation is likely to limit the market for some older players who will become in free agents, a group that will include Anthony Rizzo, JD Martinez, Chris Sale and Charlie Morton.

“Each of our proposals focused on protecting against the scenario all players fear most: the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the latest casualty in baseball’s prioritization of efficiency over fairness. fundamental,” the union said in a statement. “The league’s responses fell far short of anything the players might consider fair treatment.”

As a result, the total international signing bonus for 2022-23 will remain at $167 million, its level in 2021-22, according to a parallel letter between MLB and the union whose contents were disclosed to The Associated Press. The total will increase from 2023-24 by any corresponding percentage increase in industry revenue since 2019, the last year before the pandemic.

The decision keeps in place a system of qualifying offers for free agents that began in 2012. A club can make a qualifying offer after the World Series to a free agent who has been with the team since opening day, a one-year deal for the average of the 125 best transactions by annual average value. Last year’s figure was $18.4 million.

If a player declines a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the signing team is subject to the forfeiture of one or two amateur draft picks and a reduction in the international signing bonus pool allocation.

Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel unhappy with offers during the offseason and spring training. delayed signing in 2019 until June, after draft pick compensation was no longer attached.

The best players have found solid markets. This year’s free agent pool is headed by Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Trea Turner.

“We are disappointed that the MLBPA chose the status quo instead of transitioning to an international draft that would have guaranteed future international players higher signing bonuses and better educational opportunities, while improving transparency to better address root causes. of corruption in the current system,” MLB said. in a sentence.

An amateur draft for residents of the United States and Canada was established in 1965 and extended to residents of US territories such as Puerto Rico in 1990. MLB has pushed for a similar international amateur draft, saying part of its reason was to combat illegal agreements made. before the players are of eligible age: at least 17 at the time of signing or 16 at the time, provided that the player turns 17 before September 1 of the first season of the contract.

MLB proposed on July 28 that a 2024 international draft would include spending $181 million for the top 600 players and $190 million in total, up from $166 million in the 2021 signing period.

The players waited until this July 8 to make a counteroffer. They proposed that a $260 million draft be allocated for the 2024 signing period, with teams having to guarantee slot values ​​while having the flexibility to exceed them within bonus funds.

MLB increased its offer Saturday to $191 million for 2024 and said it was a final proposal. MLB eliminated mandatory drug testing with penalties for positive tests and also changed its proposed medical mix from mandatory to optional.

Management also offered to guarantee a minimum of $5,000 in educational money, a figure that increases to $10,000 if the player passes a General Educational Development Test.

The union said MLB’s offer was not enough, citing change management made to its estimate of growth beyond 2024. The players also wanted guarantees to maintain the current number of annual international signings and teams and jobs in the league. Dominican Summer League. They asked for a cap of $40,000 in bonuses for players overlooked in the draft, double MLB’s offer. They wanted MLB to contribute $10 million to an international human rights foundation and hire a joint compliance officer.

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