Late on Wednesday night the Associated Press reported that Major League Baseball was looking at skipping the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft and pushing off the next international signing period. Both of these moves would be made, according to the report from the AP, as a way to preserve cash.
With the game on hold right now, along with the rest of the world, is on hold and unsure of what is coming, much less when. College baseball is finished – the College World Series has already been cancelled, as has the regular season. High school baseball around the country is pretty much the same. Major League Baseball has told teams that as of right now they are to suspend scouting of any kind until further notice.
Teams have scouting information on anyone they are likely to have drafted this season. It’s rare that a team winds up taking a guy in June that as of March 1st they’ve never laid eyes on before. But it still does make a difference in having that up-to-date information. With no baseball going on, teams would be struggling to scout. And with teams closed off from private workouts, there’s nothing they could scout in that form, either.
Let’s assume that the draft is cancelled for 2020, as is the international signing period. That would save each team, roughly $13,000,000. For some teams that would be less, and for others it would be more depending on where they fell in the draft and how their pool allotment worked out.
From a pure Major League Baseball standpoint, that’s not nothing. From a baseball standpoint as a whole, it brings up a lot of questions. First, what does it do to the international market? Is the next signing period just going to be the 2020 and 2021 period with double pool amounts? What happens for college baseball? Without options, it seems that every high school player would be going to college – either a JUCO or a 4-year school. But that introduces some issues, granted on a smaller scale, of scholarships and roster spots for those schools. While the overall number of high school players who are drafted and sign is relatively small – that’s still hundreds of college roster spots that won’t be available unless college baseball expands things to counter this move, too.