MLB News and Notes: Draft Reduced To Five Rounds

The most important day of the MLB season is imminent. By that, we mean the day when the league makes its pitch to the players for how they plan to play the season. Until then, let’s check out all of the other stories making headlines in the baseball world.

Down to Five

Much like the NFL, Major League Baseball is getting set to hold its draft virtually. However, the draft will reportedly be cut from 40 rounds down to just five rounds.

The idea is to help owners reduce the cost of signing picks as a way of saving money amidst the pandemic. The agreement between the league and the Players’ Association in March allowed for the draft to be reduced to a minimum of five rounds. That agreement will also allow teams to delay paying out full signing bonuses to draft picks.

Players who go undrafted will be able to sign with any team after the draft, although their signing bonuses will max out at $20,000. Such a setup will likely cause many high school seniors to head to college rather than settle for a smaller bonus, while many draft-eligible juniors could return to school for their senior season, especially after a majority of the college baseball season was canceled by the pandemic.

Payroll Fallout

As mentioned, the shortened draft is one way MLB owners are trying to cut costs. It could be a similar story next winter, as reports indicate some MLB owners are telling their front offices to cut payroll ahead of the 2021 season.

Needless to say, the pandemic has created a level of uncertainty for MLB financially. That has owners looking for even more ways to reduce payroll.

This could lead to fewer bidding wars for frontline free agents next winter after the record-setting contracts to players like Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Gerrit Cole that have highlighted the past two offseasons. It could also mean more arbitration-eligible players being non-tendered and finding new teams on the open market at a salary that’s less than what they would have made in arbitration.

Who You Calling Dumb?

Speaking of Harper, he spoke out this week about major leaguers not being allowed to play in the Olympics. Of course, the Olympics were postponed until next summer, although when the games are played, baseball will be back after a long hiatus from the Olympic games.

Major League players won’t be participating; otherwise, MLB would likely have to shut down during the games so players could leave their teams. After calling the concept “dumb,” Harper added:

“You want to grow the game? You want to really take it to different countries and different places? The 2021 Olympics are next year because of the coronavirus. Why not shock the world and put all your big leaguers back into the Olympics?”

The Dream is Dead

It turns out Alex Rodriguez won’t be the next owner of the Mets after all. A-Rod and fiancé Jennifer Lopez were reportedly exploring options to buy the team.

However, they have struggled to find partners who could help them raise the funds needed to buy the team. In December, a deal fell through that would have sold a majority share of the Mets for $2.6 billion, which is apparently too much for A-Rod and J-Lo.

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