The MLBPA rejected Major League Baseball's latest 2020 MLB Draft proposal this week, setting up a showdown over the rules that will govern the yearly event.
Back in March, the two sides agreed that the 2020 draft would be no fewer than five rounds. But while the players want the draft to last as long as possible and look as normal as possible, the owners want to shorten it in order to cut costs. Obviously the two sides have hit an impasse.
The league has proposed splitting the draft into two sections. It would last 10 rounds, with the first five proceeding as normal and tweaking the next five rounds. Here's the description from The Athletic:
"The league offered to split the draft into two portions. Picks in rounds 1-5 would have slot values equivalent to the same picks in 2019. Picks in rounds 6-10 would have 50 percent of those values, and for those picks, there would be a hard cap on the signing bonus at slot value. The league also proposed a limit of five undrafted players at $20,000 — the maximum bonus such a player can receive — and an unlimited number on players at $5,000 or below."
Obviously the players rejected that proposal because it would massively screw over future MLBPA members. The players eligible for the 2020 draft are already getting the short end of the stick with their seasons canceled, now MLB's owners want to select fewer of them and give those selected less money. That's going to be a "hard no" for the players.
I get that Major League teams are facing serious cash flow problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but to basically devalue an entire draft class because of it is monumentally short-sighted. The NFL just held a mostly normal draft and I don't see why MLB has to make such dramatic changes to its system.
As I discussed with Keith Law a few weeks ago, this year's draft is going to be different. There's no way around it. Tweaks definitely need to be made, but this latest radical proposal feels too reactionary.
The draft is still expected to be held in June, but if the two sides can't come to a resolution, the smart move would be to push it back to August and take the time to get this right.