Players Association seeks MLB draft lottery system
MLB and the Players Association met twice last week to discuss basic economics, and while an agreement was not reached, both sides tried to make some concessions.
On Monday, the union backed away from its demand for an age-based free agency system and revised its proposal for revenue sharing between teams. In the next round of talks, the league showed its willingness to establish a pool of money for pre-arbitration players and also offered to raise the minimum wage.
Although there have been a lot of disagreements, one topic that MLB and the players seem to be in favor of is the implementation of a draft lottery.
Several details still need to be ironed out as the league pushes for a system that would only determine the top three draft selections. Meanwhile, the union wants the top eight picks to be settled by a lottery similar to that of the NBA and NHL.
The Players’ Association also called for stricter criteria to be used to prevent teams in large markets from being systematically eligible for a potential lottery while proposing measures that would reward clubs in smaller markets with additional draft compensation, according to Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumours:
According to the union’s offer, teams would find themselves excluded from the lottery for finishing below certain thresholds in the standings for two to three consecutive seasons. Specific exclusion thresholds vary by market size, with clubs in larger markets facing more stringent lottery eligibility requirements. Non-playoff teams that are shut out or do not win lottery selection would select in reverse order of the previous season‘s standings from pick #9; playoff teams would select in reverse order of the regular season record after all non-playoff teams have chosen, as is the case in the current system.
On the other hand, the union has proposed measures that would reward competitive small-market franchises with additional draft picks. Clubs eligible for Competitive Balance drafts – those in the bottom ten of the league by revenue or market size – would receive a bonus pick before Competitive Balance Round A (approximately #31-#40 overall in a typical draft) year after reaching the playoffs. Competitive Balance-eligible teams that finish .500 or better but do not reach the playoffs would receive a bonus pick before Round B of Competitive Balance (roughly #65-#75 in an average year).
The Players Association’s proposals apparently address the competitive integrity issues it has had over the past few seasons. By limiting how often teams in the biggest markets can qualify for the lottery, it would behoove them not to deliberately tank.
Additionally, awarding additional draft picks to smaller-market teams that reach the playoffs incentivizes them to spend more money in free agency and build the best roster possible.
Can MLB avoid delayed spring training?
With the end of January, it is believed that a new collective bargaining agreement (CC) will need to be in place by February 1 for spring training camps to open on time.
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