Posted on: November 10, 2009 5:03 pm

MLB Fixes for 2010 - Pt. 2

Draft Slot System

Quick explanation (as I understand it) for those that don't know or aren't exactly sure how it works: 

Each draft class, MLB assigns a SUGGESTED signing bonus amount to each draft position or "slot".  This amount is not based on the player or position drafted in that slot, but rather some arbitrary figure that is borne out of an economic formula that they've created.  The inception of this system came about because teams were complaining that they didn't have the funds to sign the most highly coveted players in the draft, because they were holding out for signing bonuses that they just couldn't afford.  However, the amount of each slot is only a SUGGESTION by MLB, and although requested, does NOT and IS NOT adhered to.  What happens?  Draftees looking for big paydays, hold their services for ransom until either: A. the team pays or B. the team balks, takes the compensatory pick in the following year's draft, and allows the draftee to fall to the next team willing to pay his ransom.

Why is this a problem?  Ostensibly, MLB is allowing the quality talent pool of players...on BOTH ends (free agency and draft picks) to bypass any team who can not afford them.  There are many teams in the league that do not pay any attention to the slot suggestions (Tigers, Red Sox come to mind immediately as well as...oh, nevermind), there are some who INEXPLICABLY adhere to the slots but don't have to (Mets...ugh!) and then there are teams who can't afford not to (the usual suspects).

Here's the quickest fix for this problem:  Allow teams to trade draft picks.  For example....:  Anyone think the Nats wouldn't have preferred to take 3 of the Yanks better prospects (or 2 prospects and an early 2nd rounder) for the rights to Strasburg?  Does anyone think that wouldn't have served them better than signing Strasburg to?  This accomplishes 2 things:

1. It gives these cellar teams the opportunity to get better by getting their hands on multiple quality players (as long as their scouting is strong).

2. It takes away some of the Scott BorASS power by dwindling some of that leverage.

The draft is supposed to help the worst teams in the league acquire the best amateur talent available.  Does the MLB draft accomplish this?

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