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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.

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