MLB players union rejects draft international proposal

NEW YORK (AP) — The players’ association has rejected what Major League Baseball called its final offer for an international draft, a move that will keep direct compensation in place for free agents and likely limit the market for some players. older.

The union announced its decision about eight hours before Monday’s midnight EDT deadline for a deal, the time specified in the March 10 lockout settlement.

“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 victim of baseball’s focus on efficiency. rather than fundamental fairness,” the union said in a statement. “The league’s responses fell far short of anything the players could consider a fair deal.”

The ruling keeps in place until December 2026 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 on the team since the opening day, one-year contract for the average of the top 125 transactions by average annual value. Last year’s figure was $18.4 million.

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

Some older players have seen their market shrink due to compensation. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel delayed signing in 2019 until June, after draft pick compensation was no longer attached.

Among the older players eligible for free agency after this season are Anthony Rizo, JD Martinez, Chris Sale and charlie morton.

Top players have found strong markets. This year’s group is led by Judge Aaron, Jacob of Grom and Trea Turner .

“We are disappointed that the MLBPA chose the status quo over the transition to an international draft which would have guaranteed future international players larger signing bonuses and better educational opportunities, while improving transparency to better tackle root causes of corruption in the current system,” MLB said. in a report.

An amateur draft was established for residents of the United States and Canada in 1965 and expanded to residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico in 1990. MLB lobbied for a similar international amateur draft, claiming that a portion of its justification was to fight against illicit agreements made. before players are age eligible – either 16 or 15 if the player turns 16 later in the signing period.

MLB proposed last July 28 that a 2024 international draft include spending of $181 million for the top 600 players and $190 million in total, compared to $166 million for the 2021 signing period.

The players waited until early July to make a counter offer. They proposed that a project be allocated $260 million for the 2024 signing period, with teams having to secure slot values ​​while having the ability to exceed them in bonus pools.

MLB increased its offer on Saturday to $191 million for 2024 and said it was a final offer. MLB dropped mandatory drug testing with penalties for positive tests and also changed its proposed medical suit from mandatory to optional. Management also offered to guarantee a minimum of $5,000 in education money, a figure that could go up to $10,000 if the player passes a general educational development test.

The union said MLB’s offer was not enough.

“Our draft proposals — unprecedented in MLBPA history — sought to establish minimum guarantees in player signings, roster spots, infrastructure investments, playing opportunities, scouting opportunities, as well as enforcement measures to fight corruption,” the union said. “We have also made proposals to compensate international signatories more fairly and in line with other fans, and to ensure that all prospects have access to a safety net for player education and development.”


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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press