The implementation of an international draft nearly derailed talks after MLB proposed tying it to the removal of draft pick compensation in free agency.
The team owners have been in favor of an international draft for quite some time but it only came up towards the end CBA talks. An international draft would replace the current system, which allows international free agents to sign with any team, but are limited by a hard cap.
MLB Hall of Famer David Ortiz, one of the greatest players to come out of the Dominican Republic, believes the league needs to take its time with implementing an international draft, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
“The system in the Dominican [Republic] is not ready to have a draft next year,” Ortiz said. “The Dominican is not the U.S. You can’t snap a finger and everything lines up to operate the right way. We’ve got a new president who’s trying to improve things. We need to do this slowly.”
Ortiz added that an international draft may be realistic in three years if MLB consults with players from the Dominican Republic on how to properly conduct one:
“Taking time — that makes more sense,” Ortiz said. “OK, guys, let’s keep up this pace to do it three, four years from now. We sit down with the big-time players. We listen to what they have to say. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right. Rushing it like this is not right.
“Baseball is such a big thing in the Dominican. Baseball keeps kids off the streets. We don’t want that to walk away from us. We want it to get better. That’s my focus. Nothing else. We have the youth. People wanting to be me, Pedro [Martinez], [Albert] Pujols. We can’t let that go away.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want those kids to be affected by it. I already played baseball. I had a career. I care about the kids being treated right. I understand MLB wants to have control over everything they do, but you’re not going to change the system overnight. Baseball is one of the secret weapons of the Dominican economy. If you talk about a draft here in the states, you have choices. You can do football, basketball. You don’t have choices [in the D.R.]. Dominican has baseball to make your way out. That’s it. You have to be careful.”
After declining the three options MLB presented to them, the MLBPA agreed that a final decision for an international draft doesn’t need to be made until July 25, which will also impact the qualifying offer status.