Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association appeared to have cleared one of the remaining hurdles on the path to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on Thursday morning. The two sides have reached an agreement on the international draft saga that will see them continue to negotiate on the finer details into the summer, according to The Athletic's Evan Drellich.
Per Drellich, the league and the union will be able to negotiate on the international draft until July 25. The league had tied the implementation of an international draft to getting rid of draft-pick compensation for big-league free agents. As part of Thursday's agreement, the league will do away with draft-pick compensation if a deal involving the international draft can be reached by that deadline. Otherwise, there will be no international draft and the current draft-pick compensation system will remain.
The international draft has emerged as one of the hot-button issues in CBA negotiations. San Diego Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis was one of the most notable players to speak out against the idea on Wednesday.
"The International Draft is going to kill baseball in DR," he said. "It's going to affect us a lot, because there will be many young people who used to give them the opportunity to get a bonus and with the draft it will not be the same "
- International players -- i.e., those outside of the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico -- would be eligible for the draft starting at age 16.
- The draft would span 20 rounds.
- Each draft slot would have an assigned signing bonus figure. The top overall pick would receive a signing bonus of $5.25 million.
- The deadline to sign would be three weeks after the completion of the draft.
- Teams could sign an unlimited number of undrafted international prospects.
- Teams would be permitted to trade international draft picks.
- Teams could earn additional picks by drafting and signing players from countries outside the typical international pipeline.
The league reportedly offered the union three choices ahead of a deadline on Wednesday: accept the draft, reject the draft, or allow for the possibility that the league could reopen the CBA in three years' time. The union countered with an idea that was hatched by commissioner Rob Manfred, with the two sides agreeing to continuing discussing the international draft in-season.