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Minor League Ball Community Discussion: what to do about international draft?

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The MLB Basic Agreement expires a week from now on December 1st. Until last week negotiations were reportedly going well, but talks have hit a snag, apparently over the issue of an international draft. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday there was some sabre rattling about a possible lockout if an agreement is not reached before the expiration of the old deal, although any sort of prolonged stoppage or delay for the 2017 season still seems very unlikely.

The owners are strongly committed to containing costs on the international front, but the MLBPA is very skeptical about the international draft the owners are proposing. That said, this doesn't seem like something worth blowing up the labor peace that has prevailed for 20 years. My guess is that a compromise will be reached without any real threat to the '17 season since both sides still seem to be negotiating in good faith.

I think there are good reasons to be skeptical about the proposed draft. As I wrote last month, I am not opposed to some kind of international draft in theory, but the current proposal seems very problematic to me, especially the proposal to not draft players until they are 18. That would be extremely disruptive to talent development in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela in particular.

Over at Baseball America, the indomitable Ben Badler proposes a compromise solution: don't have an international draft, but raise the current bonus pools.

There isn’t a perfect international signing system that will make everyone happy, but it’s clear that the current system is a mess. The next international signing system should work toward creating a level playing field for all teams, provide fair opportunities for players and reward teams that want to put resources into the international market. It should strive to spur investment and player development in countries throughout the world to help grow the game globally, both in current markets where baseball is already popular as well as newer ones where the sport can expand. Raising the international bonus pools and making them equal for all teams would be a start toward achieving those goals


Increasing the bonus pool strikes me as completely sensible, perhaps combining this with stricter penalties for exceeding the pool.

What do you guys think? Which position makes the most sense to you: MLB's international draft? No draft at all? Or something like Badler's compromise?