There is just one major issue remaining before the Major League Baseball owners and the players union agree to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that issue is draft bonuses, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press. Bud Selig has been pushing for a hard slotting system, and has said that the issue is “really critical” to him. However, the players union is against the idea of limiting bonuses for amateurs.
The consensus seems to be that a hard slotting system won’t go through. That’s what Buster Olney reported earlier this week, and Jim Callis of Baseball America has said the same thing. Olney mentions that the feel among executives is doubt over Selig digging in and fighting for the issue. The World Series could potentially end tomorrow, which would mark the start of free agency in the middle of next week. Selig wanted to get a deal announced during the World Series, and we’ve heard before that they probably don’t want to extend the negotiations in to the free agency period, as teams won’t want to discuss deals unless a new CBA is in place.
It doesn’t need to be said that Pittsburgh Pirates fans should be pulling for the current draft bonus system. The Pirates have taken advantage of the system more than any team over the last few years, spending the most in Major League Baseball over the last four drafts, including record setting deals in 2011, which included the biggest bonus ($8 M to Gerrit Cole), the biggest bonus outside of the first round ($5 M to Josh Bell), and the biggest overall spending for a single draft ($17 M). With a hard slotting system, the Pirates don’t get guys like Josh Bell, or Clay Holmes for $1.2 M in the 9th round. They don’t land Nick Kingham for $480 K in 2010, or Ryan Hafner for $450 K as a 17th rounder the same year. Both pitchers put up impressive numbers in State College this year.
With that in mind, ideally we will see Selig drop the issue in the next week, opting to finalize the CBA before the off-season kicks off.