New CBA Rule: The International Draft
First, let’s make an important distinction: This change isn’t official yet.
MLB pushed for the implementation of an International Draft as a way to clean up the heavy corruption and abuses that plague the current international free agent system. The players, while they want to clean up the major problems, did not want to rush into agreeing to an International Draft.
There’s a lot more that needs to be discussed and laid out and talked about regarding implementing this before they do it. Rather than continue to delay the regular season while they figured that out, the two sides agreed to push the decision off for a few months.
Tied to the Draft is the Qualifying Offer system. The league will drop the direct draft pick compensation for free agents, meaning teams that sign big time free agents will not lose draft picks anymore. Teams that lose their free agents will still be able to get draft pick compensation, though.
The deadline to agree to the Draft is July 25th. If they cannot find a path forward on it, the Qualifying Offer will return this next offseason and throughout the rest of the CBA. The deadline is placed a week ahead of the July Trade Deadline, which means teams that might trade players who are free agents at the end of the year will know whether they have the QO as a backup if they keep their player as a way to get compensation still.
Now, here’s how this impacts the Brewers.
Over the past few years, the Brewers have had some solid international free agent classes, with a very strong presence in Venezuela. Yet, they still routinely don’t land Top 10 rated prospects from the international market. They opt to spread their bonus money around and bet on a larger number of players rather than putting most of their eggs in one basket.
The draft order would have teams placed randomly into four or five groups and rotate through the top spots in the order. That means that once every four or five years, the Brewers would pretty much be guaranteed a Top 10 prospect from the international market.
The Brewers have had a lot of success on the international market recently, but now their access to that talent is going to change. This last international signing day, the Brewers signed 33 players. Under the draft, there are 20 rounds, and undrafted players can sign for a max of a $20k bonus.
They cannot lock down verbal agreements years in advance like they do now, and they will have to scout a larger number of players in order to prepare for this going forward, if it gets implemented.