PITTSBURGH - APRIL 07: General view of PNC Park during the Opening Day ceremonies before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado Rockies on April 7, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

MLB CBA: Draft Changes A Likely Disaster For Pirates, At Least In Short Term

Baseball's new CBA will, amazingly, make it even more difficult for the Pirates to compete.

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5 Total Updates since November 22, 2011
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MLB CBA: Draft Rules Essentially Amount To A Cap On Each Pick

Jonathan Mayo has details on the new draft rules under baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. I previously wrote that these deals were bad for the Pirates, but it looks now like they’re even worse, and more tyrannical, than I thought.

If a Club does not sign a pick, its signing bonus pool is reduced by the amount of the pick. So, for example, if a Club does not sign its first round pick, and its first round pick had a slot of $1.5 million, the Club’s signing bonus pool would be reduced by $1.5. This is true of any unsigned pick, not just those covered by compensation. The main idea here was to not create incentive for a team to NOT sign a pick. Without this safeguard, a team could “punt” a pick in order to divert those funds to another pick later on, which could result in a Draft that would look a lot like the old ones.

Well, right. I wrote that lowballing certain picks in order to spend heavily on others might be a potential loophole, but it looks like it actually isn’t.

Functionally, what this means, as one poster at Bucs Dugout pointed out, is that there’s essentially a cap on each pick. If a team doesn’t sign a pick, its value comes out of the team’s pool, so it won’t be possible to sign any pick for more than baseball recommends without incurring a penalty. That’s ridiculous, frankly. I would have expected the Pirates to aggressively exploit any opportunity to be flexible, but it appears there will be very few such opportunities.

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MLB CBA: Draft Values For Top 10 Picks

Jonathan Mayo lists the draft values for each of the top 10 picks in the MLB draft, according to baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement.

1 — $7.2 million
2 — $6.2 million
3 — $5.2 million
4 — $4.2
5 — $3.5
6 — $3.25
7 — $3
8 — $2.9
9 — $2.8
10 — $2.7

Teams will still be able to spend more than this on their first-round picks if they want, but these recommendations will add into an overall pool that effectively sets the limits for each team.

The Houston Astros have the first overall pick, and we know their draft pool is going to be $11.5 million. The Pirates pick eighth, and their recommendation for their first-round pick is $4.3 million less than the Astros, so their draft pool is going to be about $7.2 million. That’s a reasonably healthy number, but it’s a lot less than they spent in any of the past four years.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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MLB CBA: How Will New Draft Rules Affect Pirates?

You can read the full text of Major League Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement here. There’s a lot in it, but for Pirates fans, the biggest sticking point is new rules regarding spending in the draft.

A. Each Club will be assigned an aggregate Signing Bonus Pool prior to each draft.
For the purpose of calculating the Signing Bonus Pools, each pick in the first 10
rounds of the draft has been assigned a value … A Club’s Signing Bonus Pool equals the sum of the values of that Club’s selections in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Players selected after the 10th round do not count against a Club’s Signing Bonus Pool if they receive bonuses up to $100,000. Any amounts paid in excess of $100,000 will count against the Pool.
B. Clubs that exceed their Signing Bonus Pools will be subject to penalties as
follows:
Excess of Pool Penalty (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)
• 0-5% 75% tax on overage
• 5-10% 75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
• 10-15% 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
• 15%+ 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts

Excuse the long blockquote, but it’s probably necessary here. In plain English, basically what’s going on is that the Pirates and some other teams have been spending more on certain draft picks than Major League Baseball and the players would prefer. That includes million-dollar bonuses for pitchers like Zack Von Rosenberg and Colton Cain and, most notoriously, $5 million for high school outfielder Josh Bell in last year’s draft. The Bucs won’t be allowed to do that anymore. They could choose to break the rule, but for a team that picks near the beginning of the draft most years, the punishment of losing a first-round draft pick is very serious.

The Pirates have been the highest-spending team in the draft the last four years. If they continue to play poorly at the major-league level, they’ll still spend more than most teams, because Major League Baseball will give them a bigger pool to work with. But their days of spending $5 million on Josh Bell are, unfortunately, over. (And it’s likely that players like Bell will simply end up going to college now.) There are a few bonuses in the new CBA for teams like the Pirates, such as the ability to spend more on international talent than large-market teams do, and a special lottery that would allow teams like the Pirates an extra draft pick after the first round. But for right now, it’s the draft spending issue that is most significant.

You can read more about the Pirates and the new CBA at Bucs Dugout.

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MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement A Huge Blow To Pirates

Baseball's new CBA will, amazingly, make it even more difficult for the Pirates to compete.

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