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Monday, June 08, 2009
“Abolish the draft”Pinto tears FOX's Michael Rosenberg a new one over the latter's half-assed draft column, and then invokes the nuclear option:
Abolish the draft, and let these amateurs sign for what the market will bear. Then we can stop having these idiotic discussions about what’s wrong with the draft. The draft is just wrong, period.
I haven't thought through all of the implications of such a thing in this day and age (given all of the changes to the baseball labor market, the example of the pre-draft system is probably of little utility), but as I sit here right now, I can't see how it would create any more problems than any of the draft "solutions" people have suggested. Sure it's radical, but only in immediate effect, not long term implications. At least I don't think so, anyway.
David is throwing it out there for us. Let's run with it. And please, try to think harder than "the Yankees would just buy all of the good players." That doesn't happen now with international signings, and they haven't raised a big Tigers-with-Porcello ruckus in the amateur draft.
Educate me, people: what would be the pros and cons of just chucking this system and going all free-agent?
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:04pm
Mark Runsvold said...
Pro: No more artificial depression of amateurs’ bargaining power.
Posted 06/08 at 04:14 PM
Con: It’s not that the Yankees with buy all the good players, it’s that most teams will besides a select few.
Posted 06/08 at 04:20 PM
Mark Runsvold said...
Pro: Hurts the NCAA.
Posted 06/08 at 04:23 PM
Pro: More power to the players. Every agent would be better represented as well.
There aren’t any cons as far as I can tell.
Posted 06/08 at 04:37 PM
Matt A. said...
You want to get radical make the minors actual independent leagues. Keep AAA as the only level with affiliations. When you think a guy is ready sign him to a minor league contract at AAA level.
If you still want a draft have a separate National League and American League draft. Make a draftee choose between two clubs.
Posted 06/08 at 04:46 PM
Could it be that the Yankees don’t sign away all the top international talent because it’s a much bigger crapshoot than the US talent pool?
Do you really think that the Nationals or Rays or Orioles would have any chance at signing top talent out of college like Strasburg or Price or Wieters if there were no draft?
There’s no draft in college, but last I checked, there’s not exactly a lot of parity there.
Posted 06/08 at 04:51 PM
What the Yankees will do is not draft like crazy and pay immediately, but wait until a player hits AAA and then pay like crazy, once much of the risk is gone.
Its the long term control of the player that, once its gone, will allow a team with cash to snap up all the low risk/high reward players. Why pay for all the minor league training when all you need to do is pay as soon as they are ready. It makes free agent spending much more efficient, which will make the high spending teams better.
Posted 06/08 at 04:52 PM
Josh Fisher said...
Con: Logistical disaster.
Posted 06/08 at 04:55 PM
@Chris - Abolishing the Rule 4 draft wouldn’t necessitate abolishing the Rule 5 draft. Teams would still control a player’s rights once signed, they would just have to pay them market-rate.
What is unclear to me is why people assume that abolishing the Rule 4 would hurt the owners alone. Isn’t it more likely that it would just take money away from free agents? I mean, why would a team suddenly decide to cut into profits to pay more to amateur players instead of cutting into the pool they use for new free agents?
It’s the substitution effect, people.
Posted 06/08 at 05:11 PM
Pro: It’s fairer to the so-called “amateur” players.
Con: The very best prospects would likely land in one of only a few places. (This is somewhat mitigated by the high chances of failure for most prospects.)
Pro: Having the worst team get the best pick is a classic example of a disincentivizing situation, so doing away with the draft would do away with that
Con: The draft is somewhat exciting.
Pro: Free agent signings are somewhat exciting.
Ultimately it comes down to this. Would the Rays have made the W.S. without a draft? And, do we care if the Rays never make it to the World Series? (I’m not being sarcastic or facetious, it’s a serious question. Is parity, in and of itself a good thing?)
Posted 06/08 at 05:14 PM
tony a said...
I’m for it, but most fans are far too anti free agency (thanx to a fabulous propaganda campaign by MLB owners) to go along with anything that increases the extent of free agency…
Posted 06/08 at 05:19 PM
Greg Simons said...
Wow, nearly 2000 people have voted on the poll at Rosenberg’s page, and a full 93% are in favor of a draft salary bonus cap. Amazing how willing people are to give away the rights of others.
Posted 06/08 at 05:35 PM
The Yankees would just buy all of the good players. YAY!!!!!
Posted 06/08 at 05:50 PM
@Greg - Remember that primarily, it’s the Players’ Association that has given away the rights of the draftees, and it’s pretty clearly designed to get more money for major league players.
Abolishing the draft is not going to magically cause teams to have more money to spend on players. Maybe they pay more for the amateur talent, but every dollar that goes to an otherwise drafted player will be taken from the pocket of an established major league player through free agency. To believe otherwise is to believe that teams are just sitting on cash that they would otherwise be spending on players.
Posted 06/08 at 05:51 PM
Con: Its not as if the draft budgets for teams will grow to meet the newfound demands of amateur free agents.
Guys like Strasburg, Wieters, Price, etc. will always get paid.
But what does abolishing the draft do for guys picked in the 5th round, 10th round, 15th round, etc.? The MLB draft is kinda like the NFL draft, at least if you’re picked in the later rounds by a team, you know you’re wanted by at least one team. Would getting rid of the rule 4 draft lead to a raise in the bonuses these guys get, or would it lead to a reduction because now the team has no incentive to sign their late round picks?
Posted 06/08 at 05:52 PM
Greg Simons said...
@Rob^2 - I don’t care if it’s owners, MLB players, fans, whoever. They’re restricting, or wanting to restrict, the ability of individuals to find employment in their desired field. Imagine whatever field you work in, but now one employer has exclusive rights to hire you. They may be located in a city you have no desire to live in, their management may be inept, etc. How would you like that?
But because we’re talking about rich, greedy baseball players who bolt at free agency, leaving their “hometown” team to go elsewhere, so that makes it okay.
Posted 06/08 at 06:00 PM
Aaron Moreno said...
Pro: Genuine freedom to contract.
Con: Potential destruction of franchises.
Posted 06/08 at 06:14 PM
Mad Bum said...
This system would hurt the players. there would be such a glut of players in the market every year that the price would go down. Sure, the bigger talents would still be bought by the Yankees and Red Sox and other big market teams, but maybe not for as much, and the remaining talent would almost certainly be signed at a discount.
This reason is why baseball doesn’t have a bunch of 1-year contracts for everybody with free agency for everybody at the end of each year.
Posted 06/08 at 06:17 PM
@Greg - My chosen profession has very little relevance to the MLB draft, but the idea that no professions in this country are restricted along similar lines is false. Academia is restrictive. Medicine is restrictive. Investment banking is restrictive. Acting is restrictive. People who want to work at the highest levels of any given industry are constrained by any number of factors.
The relevant piece is that US labor law allows the Players’ Association to decide the barriers to entry into MLB. Part of the cost of the protection that union provides is submitting to the draft.
Would abolishing the draft help the Strasburgs and Prices and Weiters of the world, hell yeah. But the idea that the draft does nothing but limit the income of amateur players at the benefit of the owners is a lie.
Posted 06/08 at 06:28 PM
And just to be clear, I don’t begrudge the players getting paid. They should get as much they can get whenever they have the chance, be it through the draft or arbitration or free agency.
Let’s just be honest about who benefits from the draft, because it’s not just the owners.
Posted 06/08 at 06:32 PM