Report: Players Association Seeks MLB Draft Lottery System

MLB and the Players Association met twice this past week to discuss core economics, and although a deal wasn’t reached, both sides attempted to make some concessions.

On Monday, the union backed off from their request for an age-based free agency system and revised their proposal pertaining to revenue sharing amongst teams. In the next round of talks, the league showed a willingness to establish a pool of money for pre-arbitration players and also offered to increase the minimum salary.

While there’s been plenty of disagreement, one topic that MLB and the players appear to be in favor of is the implementation of a draft lottery.

Several details still need to be ironed out as the league is pushing for a system that would determine only the first three selections in the draft. Meanwhile, the union wants the first eight picks to be settled by a similar lottery seen in the NBA and NHL.

The Players Association also has requested that stricter criteria is used to prevent bigger-market teams from consistently being eligible for a potential lottery while proposing measures that would reward smaller-market clubs with additional draft compensation, per Anthony Franco of MLB Trade Rumors:

Under the union’s offer, teams would find themselves excluded from the lottery for finishing below certain thresholds in the standings for two to three consecutive seasons. The specific thresholds for exclusion vary depending upon market size, with larger-market clubs facing stricter requirements for lottery eligibility. Non-playoff teams that are either excluded from or don’t win selection in the lottery would select in reverse order of the previous season’s standings from Pick #9 onwards; playoff teams would select in reverse order of regular season record after all the non-playoff teams have picked, as is the case under the current system.

On the flip side, the union has proposed measures that would reward competitive smaller-market franchises with additional draft choices. Clubs eligible for Competitive Balance picks — those among the bottom ten leaguewide in either revenue or market size — would receive a bonus pick before Competitive Balance Round A (around #31-#40 overall in a typical draft) the year after reaching the postseason. Competitive Balance-eligible teams that finish .500 or better but don’t reach the playoffs would receive a bonus pick before Competitive Balance Round B (around #65-#75 in an average year).

The Players Association’s proposals seemingly address the competitive integrity concerns it has had over the past few seasons. By limiting how often bigger-market teams can qualify for the lottery, it would behoove them to not purposely tank.

Furthermore, awarding extra draft picks to smaller-market teams who reach the postseason incentivizes them to spend more money in free agency and assemble the best roster possible.

Can MLB avoid delayed Spring Training?

With January winding to a close, it is believed that a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) will need to be in place by Feb. 1 for Spring Training camps to open on time.

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