Bud Selig continues to push for an international draft.
Why can’t he see what irrevocable damage this would do to the game of baseball?? The cause and effect of including Puerto Rico into the domestic rule-4 (aka amateur) draft is pretty clear; when the province (a former hotbed of baseball prospects) was added to the US draft, MLB teams no longer had any incentive to host baseball academies on the island, which then led to almost no money being sent to develop amateur players, which has led to a startling drop-off of talent being drafted out of the territory.
If the same is done for the ENTIRETY of the world, what do you think will happen in developing baseball countries like Venezuela, Dominican Republic and the like? Every MLB team will close up shop, stop spending money to develop and scout players, and we’ll stop seeing the massive inflow of foreign talent. Its that simple. An international draft works in Basketball because it is far more of an international sport than Baseball; there’s significant pro leagues world wide and a massive interest in developing players. So there’s no need for NBA teams to setup basketball academies in places like Germany or Spain; they already exist and are funded by international amateur/olympic organizations.
The same situation doesn’t exist in baseball, and our sport has already suffered for Selig’s blatant pandering to tight fisted owners. Clearly Jerry Reinsdorf was behind the limits of amateur bonus money negotiated into the last CBA and clearly is behind this international draft effort as well; for reasons unknown Reinsdorf and Selig are so myopic they cannot see the long term damage this will do to the sport: in order to save just a few million dollars here and there in signing bonuses they want to do billions of dollars in long term damage to the sport.
The most recent CBA already took the first steps towards hurting small-market teams and shutting the door on two-sport stars by putting in artificial and (in my opinion) unneeded limitations on bonus monies. In a sport that clearly has massive revenue discrepancies between big city teams in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the like versus places like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Oakland, why would the league purposely eliminate the primary way that these small market teams can improve themselves? Its as if Selig called up the owners of large market teams with incompetent GMs and said, “Hey guys, how can we screw these teams to overcome our own incompetencies that we’re paving over by spending $150M/year in payroll?”
It really is infuriating…
How could we fix this issue, if an international draft was forced upon the sport? I’d be ok with an international draft if, somehow, the draft rules were modified so that teams that developed talent in their own private academies were somehow given the ability to keep their own talent. Perhaps a modified draft where international prospects were graded by independent talent evaluators and teams could burn one of their own amateur draft picks by taking one of their own? How about an expansion-type draft situation where teams could protect a number of players ahead of each amateur draft, and then at the end of each round they could protect one additional player?