Wednesday, December 19, 2007
After the Q &A with Vince Gennaro, I’ve been thinking more and more about the draft again. It leads me to pronounce that MLB should end trying to implement a slotting system for signing bonuses. All it does is further competitive imbalance for talent acquisition. Not only in the draft, which happens to be the one area that is supposed to assist the weaker clubs, but also at the major league level.
The Tigers willingness to pay for talent in the draft allowed them to trade two of the best centerfield prospects in the game (Cameron Maybin and Gorky Hernandez) and a no ceiling southpaw pitcher (Andrew Miller). The now depleted Detroit farm will just restock in next June’s draft and of course field a sick club in April. The Sox did it another way by getting great production from Pedroia, Youkilis and Papelbon for less than $1.5 million, which let them bid $51 million to negotiate with a pitcher that never threw a baseball in the Show. And we all know the Sox won the last game in 2007. MLB should encourage clubs to take the best available player, regardless of financial demands as it is economically prudent in most cases (click here to be bored with the numbers).
The current slotting “policy” is damaging the game. The increasing percentage of non-draft eligible players in pro-ball and the more top North American talent that filters to the clubs willing to go over slot will hurt competitive balance and the game more than anything. The draft and the ability to pay 0-3 service time players essentially the minimum are the equalizers in MLB. Without both, we will truly have competitive imbalance and the game will suffer.