MLB Rumors: Teams Could Receive Draft Picks For Calling Up Top Prospects Early
Rob Manfred, Winter Meetings
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sport

Major League Baseball and the Players Association met this past Thursday to discuss core economics for the first time since team owners imposed a lockout last month after the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement expired.

Among the topics that were addressed include the arbitration system for players with two-plus years of service time and a potential draft lottery that would give teams who miss the playoffs a chance to get the top overall pick.

MLB also proposed incentives to clubs who call up their promising Minor Leaguers early. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers, teams would be awarded a draft pick if a top 100 prospect makes their Opening Day roster and goes on to finish in the top three of a major award within his first three seasons:

MLB proposed awarding a draft pick if a team places a Top 100 prospect on its opening day roster, then the player wins Rookie of the Year or finishes in the top three of MVP or Cy Young voting within his first three seasons, sources said. The offer included the possibility of a pick in an international draft, sources said, indicating that the league is continuing to push for a change in the signing of non-domestic amateurs. A team, sources said, could reap only one pick per player, meaning if he won Rookie of the Year and then MVP, the second award would not lead to another pick.

While curbing service-time manipulation is a top priority for the Players Association, they are said to not be thrilled with MLB’s idea of incentivizing teams in the form of draft picks:

Players’ skepticism toward the idea mirrored that of when the league proposed using the wins above replacement metric from FanGraphs to replace the arbitration system. While the idea of incentivizing teams to break camp with their best 26 players is a goal of players, doing so through the opinions of outsiders — in this case the baseball writers who have turned prospect lists into a successful industry — did not appeal to them, sources said.

The union’s main issue with the league’s proposal is that baseball writers will essentially dictate whether teams receive a draft pick as they are the ones who vote on the major awards each offseason.

The Players Association had similar qualms when MLB offered to replace the current arbitration system with the wins above replacement (WAR) metric from FanGraphs.

Luxury tax threshold, minimum salary among issues not discussed in latest CBA meeting

While Thursday’s CBA meeting between MLB and the Players Association touched on some important issues, the luxury tax threshold and increasing the minimum salary surprisingly weren’t addressed.

As a result, there wasn’t much progress made. So much so that a follow-up session wasn’t even discussed.

With pitchers and catchers due to report to camp next month, there is an urgency for both sides to pick up the pace of talks in order to avoid the start of Spring Training potentially being delayed.

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