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Elephant Rumblings: MLB, MLBPA can’t agree on international draft, qualifying offer stays

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Good morning, Athletics Nation!

Yesterday the latest proposed terms by MLB for an international draft were rejected by MLBPA. That rejection means there will be no international draft implemented, as yesterday was the deadline set in extended CBA negotiations in March. The other consequence of running into this deadline is that the qualifying offer will stay in place going forward.

While negotiating wasn’t rapid and as spirited as with the CBA signing to end the lockout earlier this year, a few figures were exchanged between the two sides over the last few weeks as the deadline loomed. As ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez details, since July of 2021 numbers had bounced between the two sides trying to find the ideal amount of available funds across all teams to spend in the draft. This would be a similar system to the current MLB Draft’s slot values.

The implementation of an international draft has been a goal to help reduce the potential danger and advantage taken of international amateur ballplayers. Many players have a developmental trainer align with them from as early as 12 years old and function in an often corrupt system. An international draft would allow for more regulated association with teams and help to end predatory scouting practices. Part of the reason that MLBPA isn’t immediately accepting of an international draft is that any draft immediately limits the amount a compensation a player could get. When there are limitations regarding how much a player could earn, the Players’ Union tends to be against it. Late picks in an international draft could lead to much lower compensation than current systems, which is why MLBPA has pushed for each pick’s slotted amount to be a minimum spent on a player, rather than a cap.

Either way, unless MLB and MLBPA decide to re-engage on international draftees and qualifying offers, things look to stay the same until the next CBA is negotiated after the 2026 season.

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