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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