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New MLB CBA Could Lead To Big Changes In Draft For Pirates

Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement could lead to big changes for the Pirates, not all of them good. Specifically, some proposed changes to the MLB Draft could lead the Pirates, who under Neal Huntington have annually been one of the top spenders in the draft, to spend a lot less. Buster Olney sent out a series of tweets on this topic Monday morning on the framework of discussions between the league and the players.

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Ceilings for draft bonuses based on recommendations of first 10 rounds ...

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No team required to adhere to individual slot recommendations. If team surpasses 10-round ceiling, would be taxed 1st time ...

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On 2nd offense of surpassing draft ceiling, team would lose a top pick. Also: 1st-rd. compensation to disappear; negotiations in progress.

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We'll have to see the details to get a clear picture of what all this means, and the end of the compensation pick system would be great for the Bucs, who never, ever seem to benefit from it (and which leads to absurdities like the Rays drafting a dozen players before the Pirates make their second pick). But punishments for busting the draft ceiling would be very bad for the Pirates, who can afford to be competitive in the draft (and are, in fact, extremely competitive there) but can't afford to be competitive in the free agent market. It appears this policy would funnel money from the draft, which provides the Pirates their best chance of competing, to the free agent market, where the Bucs can do very little.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.