There had been talk of cancelling this summer’s Major League Baseball draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it appears MLB and the Players’ Union have an agreement in place to ensure a shortened version of the draft gets done.
a maximum bonus for undrafted players has been discussed. Most discussed number for that is $10,000. Could push lots of high school talent to college, middle-tier college talent to return to school.
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) March 26, 2020
The key issue for teams was money. Millions of dollars are handed out by each team on signing bonuses for players drafted and the draft was looked upon as a way to cut costs when everybody is dealing with zero revenue coming through the gates. There was also the issue of drafting players that hadn’t been scouted this year, but, ultimately, the big thing here was money.
So the proposed solution will apparently see the draft shortened to 10 (possibly five) rounds, down from the usual 40 rounds we see now. The signing bonuses will be deferred to 2021 and 2022, with players getting 10 percent of their bonuses up front and 45 percent in July of 2021 and 2022.
It still seems a bit odd to me that teams aren’t willing to do the normal 40-round draft when the majority of their expensive, high-risk signing bonuses are handed out in the first few rounds anyway, but this is better than shoving the 2020 and 2021 drafts together, as was previously discussed.
This is also good news for the Blue Jays, who hold their highest pick in the draft since they selected Vernon Wells with the fifth overall pick in 1997.