Fixing the MLB draft
Updated: January 26, 2010, 3:37 PM ETBy Buster Olney
Management's internal discussions about how to restructure the draft process are still in the early stages. And keep in mind that any change that Major League Baseball wants will have to go through the Players Association, at the bargaining table in the next round of collective bargaining talks.
But when the general managers got together a couple of weeks ago, they kicked around ideas in a serious and open discussion, led by former Braves GM John Schuerholz and MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred. Commissioner Bud Selig was present, and was viewed as being very interested in the suggestions by others in the room.
The premise that guided the talks was that the draft is the best and easiest manner in which baseball can address the widening financial disparity between The Haves and The Have-Nots. And the focus is on some kind of a slotting system, which would enable the worst teams to have access to the best players. In recent years, some of the worst teams have passed on the best amateur players in the draft because they believed they couldn't sign the player. This is how Rick Porcello slid to the Tigers at the end of the first round in 2007.
And there is a strong belief on the side of management that a slotting system can be completed, because the union will embrace the idea -- so long as the Players Association is guaranteed, in some fashion, that more money will be spent on major league players. How this happens remains to be seen, but there are agents convinced that the interests of the draft-eligible will be swapped out for the interests of the union veterans.
Some of what was talked about in the meetings of the general managers:
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