According to the Associated Press, one of the last major issues to be resolved in the discussions regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in major league baseball is that of a hard slotting system for the amateur draft. For whatever reason, Commissioner Bud Selig is obsessed with it.
It is Selig and his disdain for teams going against his ‘suggested slot amounts’ that give us the ridiculous wait until the last possible moment to announce signings scenario each summer. Teams are either afraid to or simply told not to announce above slot signings until near the end of the signing period for fear of incurring the wrath of the Commissioner.
Frankly, that Selig is so much in favor of a hard slot system is more than enough information for me to be against it.
Now, on the surface, one can see the logic behind a hard slot. Why should the Royals spend $7.5 million on Bubba Starling and not get him signed until August 15th when, with hard slot system, they could sign him for half that and have him in uniform by the end of June? Except, the issue is not really about the first round.
It is about signing Wil Myers away from a South Carolina scholarship in the 3rd round or Tim Melville in the fourth round the year before. How would the 2010 Royals’ draft class look without the overslot signings of Jason Adam in the fifth and Brian Fletcher in the 18th round? Or what would you think of last summer’s crop if Dayton Moore had not gone big with the over slot bonuses for Jack Lopez, Jake Junis and Mark Binford? All three werel drafted after the 16th round and all three were top ten round talents.
There was a time, not long ago, when the big payroll clubs took advantage of teams being cheap in the draft. My guess is Selig is still focused on the Tigers getting Rick Porcello late in the first round because no one thought he would sign. Anymore though, teams like the Royals and Pirates have bolstered their farm systems by spending big money in the draft: it is the real way small market teams can hopefully compete with their larger revenue brethern.
All those draft picks mentioned above have cost the Royals about as much as four months of Jose Guillen. Tell me, Mr. Selig, why is that a bad thing?