MLB has been searching for a way to keep the 2020 draft alive. Indications are that they are closing in on a deal that will do just that.
According to Kiley McDaniel of ESPN, MLB and the MLBPA are closing in on an agreement that would push the 2020 MLB Draft to July.
Sources: MLB & the MLB Players Association have the framework of an agreement that could be finalized as soon as today. Discussed terms on the draft:
– A draft sometime in July
– Likely 10 rounds, possibly 5
– Bonus deferment: 10% upfront, 45% in July '21, 45% in July '22
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) March 26, 2020
There are some key fundamental changes to the draft structure in this agreement. The biggest is that they plan to shrink the draft from 40 rounds to 10 or even as few as five rounds. That means hundreds of players are going to go undrafted. Those most affected would be college seniors who would never have a chance to enter the draft again.
The other major change is the way bonuses are handed out. In a regular draft cycle, bonuses are handed upfront. It’s how most young draftees sustain themselves their first year or so in the minors.
With the new format for this year, that money would be deferred. Only 10% of their signing bonus would be given upfront. The rest would be split between 2021 and 2022. For players who aren’t receiving six-figure signing bonuses or higher that means a lot. It means it’s going to be tough for prospects to sustain themselves.
None of this even mentions the fact that scouts aren’t able to actually scout players. High school and college baseball have been canceled. So teams will be drafting with next to no information on these players—other than what they gathered from previous years.
With out-of-date information, players not making enough to live on, and fewer players than ever getting drafted this deal seems like a nightmare scenario for all involved.