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Why is baseball so intent on killing their international talent pools?


Bud Selig continuing to ignore the facts to save a buck. Photo via

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?

Written by Todd Boss

March 3rd, 2012 at 9:38 am

7 Responses to 'Why is baseball so intent on killing their international talent pools?'

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  1. Selig has managed to freatly increase the revenue streams for the owners. That apparently trumps everything else, as he’s never going to go away, comfortable at his job until he drps dead one day, unable understand all things international.

    Mark L

    3 Mar 12 at 9:52 am

  2. Why not have MLB fund non- team affiliated academies? The savings in bonus pools will more than pay for academies in numerous countries


    3 Mar 12 at 2:05 pm

  3. Wally, Your post actually makes a lot of sense. If all teams put in the same amount it would be a great idea. I can see where the league is coming from. There are a lot of “cherry pickers” out there. I’m a Nats fan and I know we have (even after Bowden prostituted the club) a huge financial interest in the Carribbean. Older, popular clubs like the Yankee would sign our kids. It used to be that the only teams that made the local island papers were the Yankee or Dodgers. It’s not there fault so What do ya do? Your idea is best with an equal draft – worst to first.


    3 Mar 12 at 3:35 pm

  4. I wonder how much the 30 teams collectively spend in a place like the DR, to get a gauge of how much MLB would have to pay to keep the same levels of competition up. This same issue exists to a certain extent in the soccer world; lots of the largest clubs run their own academies and “own” a player from a young age. But certain countries prevent their players from signing too young (Spain for example) so English teams routinely come in and steal away academy players. Its a problem there without a good solution.

    Todd Boss

    3 Mar 12 at 10:19 pm

  5. What if MLB started to allocate funds differently? For example, the penalties that an organization will end up paying for exceeding the luxury tax threshold. Instead of dispersing that among the small market teams, calling it “revenue sharing”, and subsequently not holding those teams accountable for how they spend those funds to improve the roster, couldn’t MLB just allocate those dollars to fund the academies in these countries? This would allow the opportunities and their effect to remain as is, without the need for individual teams to sponsor them. Just a thought.

    Aaron S.

    4 Mar 12 at 1:46 pm

  6. Latin America has become a real dicey arena. It’s like “U R damned if U do and U R damned if you don’t”. The clubs with a lot of capitol to invest can be very visable in Latin America. All of the kids in the DR want to be a Yankee. Thats all they ever see. If all of the MLB teams are really being transparant about their wealth than maybe each team could pay a designated portion of their profit towards the Latin Baseball College Fund. The Latin Player Draft will be just like the amature draft, worst to first. If teams don’t want to partake in the financial support of the Latin Fund then they can have a go at the Latin players that are not drafted. I know that my Nats (even post Bowden) still put a lot of money into developing and educating kids in the Dominican Republic and I’m damn proud of that fact.


    4 Mar 12 at 7:09 pm

  7. I’d say that the fact that the “Yankees” are such a brand name in the DR would be no different than the way that Manchester United is such a global name in Soccer around the world. But, that doesn’t mean that soccer players don’t understand that Man Utd is the goal, not the only answer. You play well, you try to get noticed by someone in the league, and if you’re really good eventually the Yankees come calling.

    Of course, there’s been so many high-end dominican players lately that didn’t necessarily play for the Yankees I even wonder if that mantra still holds. If I said who are the best DR players of the last 20 years ( you’d probably say Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano, Hanley Ramirez, and Jose Bautista. This group includes a couple of Yankees, but there’s teams all over the place. Honestly if a DR kid is a rising shortstop he’s modeling his career after Hanley or Reyes most likely, and they’re both playing in Miami.

    I just worry about what will happen to a place like the DR if Selig forces an international draft.

    Todd Boss

    5 Mar 12 at 11:14 am

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