Another day, another baseball committee. This time, Major League Baseball is investigating the acquisition of international free agents, and they've established a committee to figure out if baseball can somehow handle the international-free-agent process better. Or cheaper. Probably cheaper.
The committee consists of two MLBPA representatives (Michael Weiner, Rick Shapiro), two MLB representatives (Kim Ng, Rob Manfred), two front-office executives (Sandy Alderson, Andrew Friedman), and two former players (Tony Clark, Stan Javier). According to the press release the committee will tackle the following topics:
- the minimum age of international prospects
- the possibility of an international draft
- the possibility of multiple international drafts by country
- the creation of a new league (or leagues) in the Dominican Republic for young prospects
- a potential revision of the agreement between MLB and the Mexican League to ease player movement between the two leagues
- figuring out how to include players from the Korean Professional Baseball League, the NPB, and the Taiwan R.O.C. League in some sort of draft
- how to protect young international prospects from themselves (i.e, "safeguards" for signing-bonus payments, and the viability of "independent trainers" and agents)
This isn't a small undertaking. The last time there was a committee like this was three years ago, when the powers-that-be decided to look into the issue of the Oakland A's moving to San Jose, and there still hasn't been a definitive finding from that committee. Or any findings. Still the Oakland A's. Still playing in Oakland. Still good seats available.
The new committee was created in accordance with the new collective bargaining agreement, which also radically overhauled the existing amateur draft. The last time there was a huge overhaul with the international process was when Puerto Rico was added to the Rule 4 draft, which was a change that continues to upset proponents of Puerto Rican baseball.