The Los Angeles Angels are just another team who allegedly broke the rules or even provided faulty verbal agreements to international prospects, and will perhaps pay the price for those allegations. But the problem isn’t just with them, it’s the system as a whole and the incredibly tough task to change it.
In the offseason, Major League Baseball and the MLB Player’s Association attempted to come to terms on an international draft system prior to the 2022 season, but after extending talks into July, they couldn’t agree on a set standard and ultimately left it alone for the time being.
But an ongoing lawsuit with the Angels and two of their prospects, Kiederson Pavon and Willy Fañas has shed a bit of light on how international amateur free agents and their families can be hurt or misled by shady business practices.
Longtime Dominican Republic-based trainer, Eddy Fontana understands the way things go and isn’t surprised by the lack of care that goes into non-handshake agreements with literal children and multi-million dollar contracts, via Sam Blum and Maria Torres of The Athletic:
“We’ve all seen colleagues go through it,” Fontana said, noting it happened to one of his players in 2020. “We’ve all seen colleagues go through it constantly. And it’s becoming worse and worse and worse. That’s why this current system is a failed system. It’s a failed system.”
He added that “it’s not just the Angels. It’s several teams doing it, too.”
The Angels have dealt with recent lawsuits pertaining to violations and have been in the periphery of allegations of other misconduct that signal their organizational failures on multiple levels.
But in regards to the international bonus pool issues, the league and many with extensive knowledge of the process have suggested an international player draft and how that could fix many of the ‘backroom level’ deals. The implementation and formulation would take massive reach out of the hands of pure cash and singular organizations and hand the responsibility to MLB.
As of now, the system is still essentially the Wild West with signing these players under the current rules, granted the penalties for exceeding bonus pool money have become more severe, but that isn’t the target for changing the system. It would work towards reducing corruption and alleged broken agreements, such as the case of Pavon and Fañas, and reduce the occurrence of such instances.
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