Buster Olney has up an article on ESPN.com about the plan that Major League Baseball has to try and overhaul the signing of international players and it’s all kinds of interesting. And I don’t necessarily mean interesting in a good way, either.

I decided to post a video with some thoughts on this whole thing. There’s a lot of things to this whole situation, and the I certainly didn’t touch on all of them in an effort to keep the video from being about an hour long.

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

  • Major League Baseball wants to have more control over the players before their signing.
  • Major League Baseball wants to raise the age limit on international players who are eligible to sign from the current 16-years-old to 18-years-old.
  • Major League Baseball wants to have 10 rounds of this draft.
  • Major League Baseball teams believe that this will benefit smaller market teams given how larger market teams like the Dodgers and Yankees have gone out and spent massive amounts of money in the past, just to pay the penalties to acquire tons of top end talent in the current market.

There’s more to it all, but those are some of the key talking points made by the Olney article. As I noted in the video, I do believe that there are some legitimate points being made here. There are also plenty of unanswered questions about the article, though I am sure that Major League Baseball has them figured out for their proposal.

Here are some of the things that I’d like to see answered:

With 10 rounds, that means that there would only be 300 players drafted. Teams generally sign 20-40 players on the international market each year. How do the players that go undrafted come into play? Are they again just free agents, able to sign with anyone who is willing to sign them much like an undrafted free agent is in the domestic draft? If so, couldn’t a situation arise where players avoid being subject to the draft simply by not showing up to the Major League Baseball facilities? Or does the international draft also come with spending limits similar to the domestic draft that will make this far tougher to do?

What does this do to the Dominican Rookie League? Right now the average age of the player is just over 18-years-old. While pushing the signing age limit back to 18 doesn’t really alter things for a lot of guys, for a small group of players it does. Where it does effect most players is that they lose a full year of development time. Major League Baseball, according to the article, does mention bringing players in for better education prior to their signings, which I’m fully on board with, but the signed players are already getting this when they sign with a professional team – it’s just under, say, the Cincinnati Reds instead of Major League Baseball. With all of the money invested in the academies down in the Dominican, will teams begin to change how they do business there? They essentially cutting out a year of a guys career. Very few players stick around in the Dominican Summer League beyond the age of 21. Most guys, if they haven’t gotten to the United States by then, are released. Eliminating a season by pushing the signing age back really changes how a team could go about things.

Cuban players who tend to be older (and who knows what will happen if the US continues to lighten up on the relations with them), Japanese and Taiwanese professional – are they subject to the same draft as 18-year-olds from the rest of the world? How do the posting fees come into play for the latter two, if they are?

As I said, I can fully understand the different sides of this. If done right, I believe that it could be a very good system for baseball. Unfortunately, I don’t trust Major League Baseball to do things the right way. I believe they will do things that benefit the owners pockets far more than it will benefit the players involved, and I’m not sure that’s good for the long term prospects of the sport.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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