More CBA madness: Draft pool even smaller than expected


Via Jim Callis, the pool for the first ten rounds of the draft is closer to $180M than the $200M that was reported last week. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it basically means each team will have ~$667k less to spend next draft. The Yankees have signed guys like Graham Stoneburner, Mark Melancon, and Dante Bichette Jr. for close to that amount in recent years.

Furthermore, Callis also says that if teams do not sign a pick, they will not be able to allocate that pick’s money elsewhere. There had been some speculation that clubs with extra picks would simply not sign one of their first rounders, then redistribute the money to get better players with their remaining extra picks. Teams won’t be able to do that, apparently. This new setup is about as close to hard slotting as you can get without actually implementing hard slotting.

Categories : Asides, Draft


  1. Plank says:

    Wow, that’s really bad for the players. And the teams. The only team this helps is the White Sox. Is there any other team that doesn’t put a big emphasis on the draft?

    If this had been in effect the past few years. The Nats could have lost their next two first round picks (Strasburg and Harper)

    • Gonzo says:

      The White Sox will probably have a higher budget than they usually spend under this system. I wonder if they’ll have a penalty for underspending.

  2. Art Vandelay says:

    don’t really understand what this means … can someone explain ?

    • Plank says:

      Every selection in the draft has a slotted value associated with it. If the player signs for that amount, there is no penalty. If the total amount the team spends on the players they sign adds up to more than the amount that is slotted for those picks, the team gets penalized.

      It was previously thought that if a team doesn’t sign one player, that money could be used to pay another player more. This is saying that isn’t the case.

  3. IB6 UB9 says:

    The Yankees will be fine under this because they have the deepest and wisest scouting network. This will just reduce the game playing between teams and draftees but since the Yankees are the best at identifying talent it won’t affect them relative to other teams (and will save them some money).

    • CONservative governMENt says:

      This hurts the players the most. Then teams like the Red Sox, Tigers and others that target big name droppers. Since the Yankees typically pass on those and use their internal rankings it won’t really affect them.

  4. Rich in NJ says:

    It’s time for the Yankees to hoard their existing top prospects because it will take a lot more skill (and luck) to replace them.

  5. Pat D says:

    Can’t we just stop kidding ourselves and call this hard slotting?

    • The Fallen Phoenix says:

      Yeah, seriously. With the penalties so stringent, I really can’t see how these can be considered soft caps except in name.

      The more I read about the CBA the more I hate it. Which is saying something, because I thought it was shit to begin with.

  6. Tom Zig says:

    Good job, Bud Selig!!

  7. Peter R says:

    Time to spend all that money we can now not spend (in draft and IFAs) on making our scouting dept five times bigger and better than anyone else’s. We can still use our vast resources to have an advantage over other teams…that’s the Yankees way!

    • Plank says:

      I think they should buy a team in NPB, KBO and CPBL. The Seoul Yankees, Tokyo Yankees, and Taipei Yankees could accept the NY Yankees posting bid of $1.

      I know it’s outlandish, but they should figure out some ways to get around these new rules.

      Do you think there is anything barring the Steinbrenners from doing this?

      • IB6 UB9 says:

        Let’s use common sense.

        • Plank says:

          There is something they could do. They could do strategic partnerships or something. The Doosan Yankees and the SoftBank Yankees.

          The posting system is one area of talent acquisition that isn’t regulated still so if they gained an advantage there, it would be huge.

          • Gonzo says:

            I think you are kidding. If you’re not, the posting system is actually regulated.

            • Plank says:

              I actually am serious. It’s certainly outside the box thinking. It’s probably not allowed, but if it is, why wouldn’t they? If the Steinbrenners own both teams, they could make the posting bid $50MM and win it that way.

              The major league teams are allowed to own minor league teams. Why couldn’t they own a team in another league?

              • Gonzo says:

                I was speaking specifically of this:
                “I think they should buy a team in NPB, KBO and CPBL. The Seoul Yankees, Tokyo Yankees, and Taipei Yankees could accept the NY Yankees posting bid of $1.”

                Also, repatriating that money under your second scenario would prove difficult.

                • Plank says:

                  It’s just an idea. I feel like there is a way to make it workable.

                  Difficulty of repatriation of funds doesn’t seem like an insurmountable obstacle.

                  • Gonzo says:

                    Well, it’s also a big assumption to say that these two leagues don’t already have a regulation against this. I wouldn’t bet against an existing rule/code.

                    • Plank says:

                      If there is a regulation against it, the point is moot. But I doubt there is a regulation in the MLB constitution which prohibits owners in what they can own besides their club. If there is something against it, I would imagine it would be on the other side of the Pacific.

                      Hyundai, Lotte, and Samsung don’t want foreigners coming in and messing up their good thing.

                    • Gonzo says:

                      Yeah they freaked when Soriano and Nomo left without compensation. I would imagine the idea of a team using a team as a farm would go over like a lead balloon.

                      Also, from a Yankee standpoint what are the odds of this paying off? They would have to own a team that had a player worthy of playing for them. What would be the odds of that considering only a few posted players in the past decade would start for the Yankees in the past decade. Maybe less.

      • Genghis says:

        Doesn’t work. Under the Japanese posting rules, the posting team is required to accept the highest bid.

  8. IB6 UB9 says:

    What’s wrong with hard slotting?

    • Gonzo says:

      Depends on who you ask.

    • mustang says:

      MLB and the union are sending a clear message that people are going to stop making big $$$ on just having the potential to play the game. It will probably save the teams from some of the 4.5 million dollar Andrew Brackman’s of the world and that money would probably go to MLB players.

      WIN and WIN

    • Rich in NJ says:

      It depresses the income of young players by restricting their opportunity to let the market determine their value. That doesn’t seem right to me.

      • IB6 UB9 says:

        Letting the market determine the value of young players was undermining the intended purpose of the draft. It works fine in other sports and the MLBPA accepted it so the equity of it has been negotiated amongst those who count.

        • mustang says:


        • Rich in NJ says:

          We don’t know whether or not the old system undermined the intended purpose of the draft because small revenue owners were permitted to pocket revenue sharing funds.

        • KeithK says:

          A free market for amateur players is bad for competitive balance. That’s why the draft was instituted in ’65. It certainly hurts the amateur players financially by limiting their leverage. But that’s collateral damage.

          Fixing the cash to specific picks is intended to avoid gaming the system by intentionally drafting guys that you don’t want to sign. This is a good thing in the long run. It basically fixes the cost of signing pick, adding certainty to the draft and making it more likely that picks will sign for their allocated dollars.

          From a purely selfish Yankees fan perspective, this all sucks. My team would be better off with no draft and no limits at all. See 1920 through 1964. As a baseball fan, it’s better if the impact of financial disparity is reduced. This may not be the best way to do that but it moves in that direction.

          Does this hurt amateur players who will get less cash to sign? Sure. But they aren’t a signatory to the CBA.

          • Plank says:

            You have it backwards. The draft was instituted to suppress salaries of bonus babies in the 50s and 60s. Since they were implementing a system to suppress salaries, they decided to try to level the playing field as well. The idea of parity was an afterthought when the draft started, just as it is now.

            • mustang says:

              “Prior to the implementation of the First-Year Player Draft, amateurs were free to sign with any Major League team that offered them a contract. As a result, wealthier teams such as the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were able to stockpile young talent, while poorer clubs were left to sign less desirable prospects.”

              He might have the sequence events backwards, but its was develop to keep competitive balance.

          • mustang says:

            Can get a Amen!!!

            Dead on!!!

          • Gonzo says:

            Competitive balance…right.

        • Gonzo says:

          The draft was put in place to control costs for owners.

        • Bryan says:

          The MLBPA does not represent amateur players so it accepting the ‘hard slotting’ provisions is not some sort of validation.

          It’s like saying Billy Hunter and the NBPA represents NCAA players.

      • mustang says:

        “It depresses the income of young players by restricting their opportunity to let the market determine their value.”

        It depresses the income (and we are not talking minimum wage here people) of MINOR league players while raising the income of MLB players.

        I don’t know but I think the job MLBPA is to look out for its members.

        • Rich in NJ says:

          If depressing income is such a laudatory goal, why not have a profit cap on owners?

          Instead the system depresses the income of the people with the lowest incomes.

          So it’s about the exercise of power, nothing else.

          I prefer the free market.

          • mustang says:

            Its not the only goal they are also trying to have competitive balance.

            “I prefer the free market.”

            Yes, your a Yankees fan why wouldn’t you, but I don’t think you would feel the same as a Royals fan.

            • Rich in NJ says:

              Right, but competitive balance can also be achieved by capping profits. It’s obvious why they haven’t gone that route, as I alluded to above.

              Perhaps the best way to achieve competitive balance is to let poorly run teams fail. The Twins and Rays, for example, have shown at various points in time that teams can spend less and do quite well.

              So maybe Royals fans should blame their ownership, not the system.

          • YanksFan says:

            I’m am a free market guy but there is no such thing in sports.

            Owner’s get accused of collusion when prices are kept down. Could be collusion OR could be that the teams have a similar value in what a player is worth.

            Scott Boras, for example, can have 2 OF’s and LIE to teams. He does it, it’s negotiating. What’s really the difference.

            Same with all these amatuer players & their Consultants. Namely, Scott Boras.

    • A.D. says:

      Potentially drives talent away from the game, as can’t buy kids out of football scholarships

  9. Mike Myers says:

    If the Yankees just buy the Dominican Republic they can horde all the players! Use that YES cheddar!

  10. Jamey says:

    Is this mostly about trying to have some sort of “cap” for top picks so stuff like JD Drew doesn’t happen anymore? I can see MLB wanting to make sure these picks are signed as soon as possible since they’re trying to make it a big deal spectacle like the NFL Draft.

    Although I still have a hard time seeing a guy like Boras taking much consideration for the team needing to sign their other picks.

    • Plank says:

      It’s an attempt to keep more money for the owners. It’s an attempt to limit the Drews as much as the Strasburgs and Harpers.

  11. IB6 UB9 says:

    I preferred the free market too. Until the lack of regulation, oversight and morals caused the global economy to fail.

    The baseball draftees who are worth the ‘free market’ money will get it eventually. This is just a screening process to remove the hype and pay for production. Given all the inequity in the world, are professional baseball draftees really so deserving of our concern?

    • Rich in NJ says:

      I preferred the free market too. Until the lack of regulation, oversight and morals caused the global economy to fail.

      The expiring CBA has increased MLB’s revenues. I understand that you were being whimsical, but there isn’t even a remote analogy to MLB.

      • IB6 UB9 says:

        I typically side with players over owners but I don’t mind money going to players who have made it over those who might.

        Players aren’t getting free market money when under team control, either, and this is like an extension of that concept.

  12. Genghis says:

    OK, if you don’t sign a draft pick, you can’t reallocate the pick’s money. But what if you sign a player for under the slot level? Can you reallocate the savings?

    • Need Pitching says:

      that seems to be the case, in which case teams with extra picks could game the system by drafting Joe Schmo with an extra pick, signing him for next to nothing, and using the rest of his slot to go over slot with other picks

      • Plank says:

        I didn’t get that impression from the description in this article.

        • Need Pitching says:

          its a signing bonus pool. If using under slot savings for other picks wasn’t allowed, what is the purpose of it being a pool?

          • Plank says:

            That is what I thought until this article, I think the pool means all the picks combined add up to a 180MM pool.

            I may be wrong, but that’s the only thing I can come up with.

            • Need Pitching says:

              it seems that teams would only lose the value of the slot if they don’t sign the player at all, otherwise, I would think the full slot would count for the team pool, allowing underslot savings to be used on other picks

              I can’t find that spelled out anywhere though, so I may be completely wrong

              • RetroRob says:

                What’s interesting is the Yankees might have been planing for this change already. They stayed away from big name (and costly) first-round picks, instead going for more toolsy high-school players with some flaws who might pay big dividends if the Yankees can correct them, while then pushing more money to the later rounds of the draft to sign other players.

                The Yankees under Hal Steinbrenner had a budget for the draft, as they will now going forward. Perhaps they’ve been restructuring how they draft based on these expected changes.

              • Bryan says:

                I think allowing underslot savings to be passed on would go against the purpose of the new CBA, so it’s my impression that it’s not allowed. Unfortunately.

  13. RetroRob says:

    I intend to wait and see what the final CBA looks like before making a final determination, and even then it will probably take several years to see how the new rules play our in real-world draft environments.

    I have two concerns: Like any fan, one is how the new rules will impact my favorite team, in this case the Yankees. Second, I’m interested in how this will impact the overall game, and in reality since I’m such a huge baseball fan, I’m probably more interested in the latter than the former.

    Overall I think the rules help the Yankees since it really does put a pretty hard cap on signing amateur and international “free” agents, which is one of the ways smaller-market teams can remain competitive, while at the same time, there is still not a hard cap on signing MLB free agents, which is a game the Yankees can play better than other teams. As we’ve seen over the years, including recently with organizations like the Royals and the Pirates, after years of mismanagement, they finally started directing more resources to the draft, and they have a nice pipeline of talent coming. The Rays have done this and the Rangers, too. While the teams at the bottom will still have access to the top picks, it will still take a lot of money to sign the Harpers, Strasburgs and Coles (I don’t think Harper would have signed for one penny less under the new rules), which leaves losing teams will less flexibilty to expand their draft money in any year to help build their organizations. It appears to be a victory to the high-revenue, consistent winning clubs like the Yankees, Red Sox and even now the Phillies.

    As a baseball fan, however, I have a greater concern about how this impacts the game. Will in create more fan interest, will it help the game continue to develop more talent, and will it help to expand the game to new markets. I think the answer to all of these is probably no. At best, we can hope that the talent level stays the same. That MLB doesn’t lose a single player, or a single future HOFer because of this, and that the team owners continue to pump money into Latin America to help continue to develop talent. If they don’t, there will be a loss.

    As said, I’ll take a wait and see attitude, especially since we don’t even have final numbers yet, but it doesn’t look encouraging.

    • Bryan says:

      Unfortunately the new CBA as currently described will all but guarantee fewer two-way players choosing baseball over basketball or football.

      Though at the end of the day the kids will choose the sport they’re more likely to succeed in – it’s arguable that it makes the selection process more efficient.

      • YanksFan says:

        I disagree to an extent. It may have fewer 2-way players out of HS signing a minor league deal. I don’t believe that once this kid goes to college that he will quit baseball. I also believe that, if equal, they will choose MLB after college due to their higher earning potential.

        The minimum salary is highest in MLB and the careers are generally longer. And safer on long-term health. All this after getting that signing bonus upon being drafted.

  14. A.D. says:

    Really defeats the point of having Boras as an advisor

  15. would there be an option of promising a prospect a higher salary while in the minors to make up for a lesser bonus?

  16. Backwards says:

    What’s to stop this from turning into constant NCAA investigations? Joey Prospect gets drafted and signed to the slot amount but rumors say the team also gave his dad a job and his mom an apartment. Plus, he is driving around a new 2011 Escalade that he reportedly only paid 5 grand for.

    • Backwards says:

      NCAA-style investigations. I mean.

    • Plank says:

      That’s interesting. I wonder if conditions for players will get better in the low minors. Maybe teams will pay for better accommodation for the players since they can’t (or won’t) give them bigger bonuses.

      Some teams give bonuses to the minor league teams that win their division titles. Maybe they can add incentives to contracts in the minor leagues based on easily attainable goals.

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