First off, happy Mother’s Day to any mothers out there reading this. I would hope you’d have something better to do with your holiday, but you do you. The sacrifices and gifts a mother gives her children are without measure and I know my mother is no exception to that rule.
Yesterday, we talked about the news from Friday that related to the return of major league baseball. However, there was other news that afternoon that dealt with the next generation of ballplayers and, honestly, it was expected but not good. We’ve talked about what baseball might do with the draft for quite some time, but it seems like the most drastic scenario is playing out.
Ken Rosenthal reported that the MLB Draft was going to be a paltry five rounds this June, with teams then able to sign as many players as they wanted for a maximum of $20,000. Which, well, let’s just let Conclave contributor Jon Doble show how ridiculous that is:
This is why young athletes go play football and basketball.
The last pick in the NFL draft got $75k guaranteed on a 4 year, $3.7M contract.
If you’re a sixth round talent in this year’s MLB draft you probably won’t even make $75k in four years. https://t.co/fcTVL0efNy
— Jon Doble (@GroundRuleDoble) May 8, 2020
So yeah, it’s stupid. And front offices know it, though owners don’t.
There remains a significant divide within the team side on the draft. A majority of front offices were pushing for a longer draft, recognizing the value reaped even in later rounds can be immense. Pushback to keep the draft as short as possible from some owners was strong.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 8, 2020
Heck, you would think that the owners would want all the cheap labor that they can get so they don’t have to pay free agent prices for gaps in their system. It’s a short-sighted, penny-wise and pound foolish approach that, frankly, nobody is surprised that baseball is going with because these sort of terrible decisions are what it is known for. You’d like to think that with sabermetrics, with the success of so many late round draftees, with training methods, all of that to get quality players, people would understand the value of the draft.
You’d be wrong.
A sixth-round player last year would have made between $237,000 and $301,600 if he agreed to slot money. The 10th round went between $147,900 and $142,200. Even undrafted folks could get $100,000. And now a guy that might just miss being drafted in the five rounds is going to be expected to settle for $20K? When you factor in minor league salaries, it’s not economically feasible for those players to play if there’s anything else they can fall back on. The only people that are taking this are college seniors who are so ticked that things changed right as they were coming out. Even some of them won’t, preferring to look for a career that values them enough to pay them a living wage.
I get it, baseball is really hurting with revenue down. And I can see them cutting the draft pools, even though that really hardly saves them any money. But why wouldn’t you get you a lot of lower-salary players so you don’t have to sign free agents? It just doesn’t make sense.
Baseball often doesn’t, it seems.