MLB Won’t Have an International Draft in 2014

According to Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball won’t implement an international draft in 2014.

The new CBA restricted the spending in the international markets, and had all of the framework for a draft. The key difference is that teams at the bottom of the standings, with low bonus pools, can currently spend all of their money on a top prospect. Under a draft, the top prospects would go to the teams who need them.

I don’t know if Pirates fans should be opposed to this. The Pirates have been successful adding guys like Starling Marte ($85,000), Alen Hanson ($150,000), Gregory Polanco ($75,000), and Dilson Herrera ($220,000). Under the current system the Pirates don’t have to worry about how many of these guys they can sign. The prices will go up on some, with other teams getting interested. However, the Pirates have more control over whether they land all of the guys they want to land.

It does make you question the regular MLB draft. Currently the only players who can’t enter the league as free agents are US born players. If you’re from Japan or Cuba, you’re getting a massive bonus and the ability to pick whatever team you want to sign with. If you’re from the Dominican Republic or another Latin American country, you don’t get as big of a bonus, but you get to pick your team. If you’re in the US, you have no control over who picks you, and with the new slotting system, your bonus is limited.

I’m not saying a draft is a bad thing. What I am saying is that MLB is inconsistent here. They’re putting US players through a draft, while allowing international players to enter via free agency. They’re restricting the spending on US and Latin American players, but doing nothing to control the costs of players from Japan, or older players from Cuba. You would think there would be a desire for consistency.

The biggest issue for me is the Japan/Cuba wave of players. There should be some restrictions on those guys, since there are restrictions on every other player in the World.

UPDATE 12:45 PM: Looks like the issue will be tabled until the next CBA negotiations.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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