Thursday, August 27, 2009

The draft process: good or bad for baseball

There has been sometihng I have wanted to get off my chest for awhile and that is the draft process. I wanted to wait until after the deadline to sign draft picks to see how it would all turn out. Things happened pretty much just how I expected them to happen and I really don't like it. Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach that the draft has turned into what it has and I know I am talking to a majority of people that feel the draft is fine, but I had to get this off my chest.

With the 22nd pick in the first round the Twins selected Rhp Kyle Gibson out of the University of Missouri. Going into the season he was projected as a top 5 prospect, but during the year he suffered a stress fracture in his pitching forearm which led to him dropping to number 22. There was a big disagreement between the Twins and Gibson's agent because Gibson's agent felt that Kyle should be paid like the 5th overall pick and the Twins viewed it as he was picked 22nd not 5th and should be paid accordingly. The Commissioner's office instituted a slot system a few years ago where they suggest how much of a signing bonus ever pick should get. With Gibson and the 22nd selection the commisioners office suggested 1.3 million dollars just to sign. While Gibson and his agent were thinking more on the lines of 2.5 million which is 1.2 over slot. Gibson is not the only one who wanted over slot as Stephen Strasburg the 1st overall pick by the Washington Nationals reportedly wanted a major league contract in upwards of 40 million dollars for a guy that has never thrown a professional pitch. Strasburg "settled" for 15.4 million dollars. Number 2 pick Dustin Akely signed for a major league contract worth 7.1 million dollars. There a few more contracts way over slot like Chris Dwyer a forth round pick by Kansas City getting 1.5 million, Michael Ohlman a 11th rounder by Baltimore got 995,000, Max Stassi also got 1.5 million for a 4th rounder. All those deals are way over slot and just gave Gibson's agent amunition to ask over slot from the Twins. My belief the whole time was the Twins should not have to come up from 1.3 as that is fair for the 22nd pick. But with everyteam going way over slot it wouldn't of made sense for Gibson to take 1.3. Don't get me wrong I am glad that the Twins signed Gibson as I think he is going to be a special pitcher, but the system is broken and needs to be fixed. There is no reason for players that haven't played a professional inning to get bonuses like that. I have a few suggestions that I think make sense going forward for the draft.

To start out with players have teams cornered because they have the option of going back to school and basically blackmailing the teams into giving them what they want and I don't believe it is right. If I am commisioner and can institute the new rules I would have an NBA like process where players put there name in the draft, but can't sign an agent to see where they are going to be drafted and if they don't like the spot go back to school. However, there should be a cutoff date where your in your in so the players can't blackmail the teams. I am taking another idea from the NBA and putting a hard cap on bonuses where the amount of money is predetermined by your draft spot where if you go 15th overall you get so much money and if your 345 overall you get so much money. Take the negotiation out of it and get the players playing early so they can get to the majors earlier. The draft is turning into the new free agency as teams are overpaying on young players instead of free agency and that makes the smaller market teams have to pass on the good players because you know you can't sign him. The Twins have selected guys like Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks and others because they knew they could sign them. That is not the way it should be it should be on talent alone so everyone has an equal shot every year. What does everyone else think of these ideas and the whole process in general let me know.

3 comments:

Topper said...

Travis, that's a great idea. You've got my vote for commish if you can pull that off!

Travis Aune said...

didnt say it would happen because the players association would not let it happen but that is the fairest way to do it.

TT said...

Travis -

I don't think the problem is the players association. They would probably agree to a slotting system since the players drafted aren't members. The problem is the Yankees, et. al. wouldn't.

I don't think there are many, if any, players who get to the major leagues later because of when they signed their contract the summer they were drafted. Those couple months don't mean much when you look at two or three more years before they will even be on the major league roster, much less in the big leagues.

There is a problem with the comparison to the NBA. Most of the players taken in the major league draft, even the first round of the draft, will never draw a major league salary. They will work in the minor leagues for a pittance. The signing bonus is likely going to be their only real pay day. That is not true of high NBA draft choices or even second round choices.

Gibson, if forced to sign for slot money, may well have decided to go back to school and looked for a higher draft spot and its higher guaranteed bonus next year. If he had done that this year, there is no guarantee he will get a higher bonus even if he is drafted higher. He would have lost the leverage that he would go back to school.

The inequities in baseball are at the owner level. They don't share a large percentage of their revenues. The result is that some teams are much wealthier than other teams. The solution is to share more revenue.