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MLBPA ‘deeply skeptical’ of international draft

Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes the CBA negotiations, Andrew McCutchen trade talks, and more on Mike Trout’s MVP win.

MLB, MLBPA Announce New Labor Agreement Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

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Negotiations for the new collective bargaining agreement in MLB have been going well, from the sounds of it. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association seem to agree, or at least found middle ground, on most major subjects, allowing the two to mostly tend to tweaking the existing CBA. That’s true except for one area: the international draft. While MLB is pushing for an international draft that would start in 2018, the MLBPA is "deeply skeptical" of a switch from an open international market to a more rigid draft.

That’s a surprise, given the union routinely gives away the rights of non-union members — like amateur players — if it helps their own cause. Maybe, though, many players remember how amazing those large international free agent contracts and bonuses were, and how much they improved their own lives, and they want others to have that chance. Or, MLB just isn’t giving the MLBPA enough in return to justify this massive switch, and they’re holding out for more. That’s the fun thing about closed-door negotiations between billionaires and millionaires: we don’t really know what their intentions are, but we sure can guess at them. In the case of the owners, we can guess with plenty of confidence that money is the key.

It sounds like owners and commissioner Rob Manfred are the only ones who want the draft. Executives would prefer the scouts who find the best talent and front offices that have the resources squirreled away be the ones to get it. What general managers and their associates want doesn’t matter to the players and owners, though, and you can look to the qualifying offer for evidence of that. A draft does feel inevitable, as Manfred has said in the past, but whatever it is that MLB is offering the MLBPA to make it happen is going to have to improve for that inevitability to go down sooner than later.