On Thursday afternoon the owners and players association representatives got together to talk for the first time in nearly six weeks as they attempt to work towards a new collective bargaining agreement. While there was a lot of things that were proposed by Major League Baseball’s ownership group, three of the things directly effected the minor league players or the amateur player process.

When it comes to the draft, both the players and the owners have now made proposals that would include a draft lottery, similar to what the NBA has, where the worst team doesn’t necessarily get the top pick, but the group of X number of teams enter into a lottery for the picks. The players proposal was for the top eight picks to be a lottery, while Thursday’s proposal from the owners was for the top three picks according to reporting from Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers of ESPN. Teams would also be ineligible to be in the top three picks three consecutive seasons.

Another draft related note is that the owners offered up an additional draft pick as a reward to teams who have a rookie in the big leagues for the full season who wins the rookie of the year or the top three of the MVP or Cy Young award within the players first three seasons. The catch here is that the rookie in question also has to be a prospect that would be rated as a top 100 or top 150 prospect (there are two reports out there on this, with one saying top 100 and another saying top 150) in order to qualify. Which prospect list would need to be made isn’t specified.

There are a lot of issues with this proposal that are immediately at the forefront here – MLB creates a prospect list of their own, but even if the reliance of this plan is on lists from other sources, so much of the information that goes into those lists are based on the opinions and information supplied by MLB scouts, front office employees, and coaches in the minor leagues (who are MLB employees). Not to mention that MLB.com writers are mostly, if not all a part of the BBWAA and get to vote on the MVP and Cy Young Awards. There’s a conflict of interest here.

Along with that “additional pick” proposal, the ownership group also included an international draft. That is something that the owners have been looking at changing for at least the last decade but haven’t been able to make happen.

38 Responses

  1. Tom

    14 team playoff.

    Best second half record among teams not in playoffs gets #1 pick. 2nd best second half record gets 2nd pick etc.

    Tanking solved. FA expenditures go up as well. Also more fan interest the more playoff teams there are (within reason. Baseball will have plenty of Cinderella teams reach a WS and perhaps win but predominantly the best teams will compete.

    • BK

      I generally like this approach. However, I would try to find a way to pick one wild card team from the first half. Also, put the top three the non-playoff team with the best first half records in the lotto for the first pick. This incentivizes all teams to compete right out of the gate and continues to allow teams that are “out of the race” to retool at the trade deadline.

      • Tom

        *Handshake* Done deal.

        Incorporating your idea: At the end of the year, the team with the best first half record that does not qualify based on the full season result (poor 2nd half) would also get the last bid. Perhaps this choice would also need approval from a selection committee who would evaluate if that team is deserving now based on returning injured players whose absence contributed to their 2nd half decline . Kind of a CFB vibe to get everyone angry at someone in charge. Now we’re selling ads!

        The offseason effects would also be interesting.

        Imagine you’re now the Orioles. Your roster is terrible at the MLB level but you have Rutschman and Rodriguez ready. Get those guys ready to contribute this year by starting them day 1, and begin signing starters via FA to fill holes you might otherwise leave empty during a rebuild. Who knows, maybe you get to 83-79 and grab the last spot. It’s at least in sight. At the least, if you want to draft highly next year, you stay focused on improving all year, at the deadline, and second half.

        I will say a rule change like this would probably make the trade deadline much more dull. Who would trade valuable players if they knew it would hurt their second half record? Maybe teams like the Reds could find takers for a Moose or Suarez to drop salary where they are deep enough with an India, Senzel, Barrerro, Farmer option at hand for the second half. That’s about it.

        Lastly, a tight FA market has always favored the big spenders, so as long as there isn’t a cap and floor the small spenders will always need to be craftier with scouting, drafting and development, something I generally find unfair.

    • Tom

      Here is what the playoffs and draft order would be from 2021 results. Would anyone argue Toronto wasn’t a playoff team? That Cincinnati didn’t have a dangerous team? That Philly wasn’t built for the playoffs?

      AL Division Leaders W L PCT
      E-Tampa Bayz 100 62 0.617
      W-Houstony 95 67 0.586
      C-Chi White Soxy 93 69 0.574
      Bostonw 92 70 0.568
      NY Yankeesw 92 70 0.568
      Toronto 91 71 0.562
      Seattle 90 72 0.556

      NL Division Leaders W L PCT
      W-San Franciscoz 107 55 0.66
      C-Milwaukeey 95 67 0.586
      E-Atlantay 88 73 0.547
      LA Dodgersw 106 56 0.654
      St. Louisw 90 72 0.556
      Cincinnati 83 79 0.512
      Philadelphia 82 80 0.506

      2022 Draft order based on 2nd half win%
      Detroit 37 34 0.521
      Kansas City 38 35 0.521
      Cleveland 35 40 0.467
      Colorado 34 36 0.486
      Oakland 34 36 0.486
      Minnesota 34 39 0.466
      LA Angels 32 41 0.438
      NY Mets 29 45 0.392
      Miami 28 44 0.389
      Chi Cubs 27 45 0.375
      Pittsburgh 27 45 0.375
      San Diego 26 43 0.377
      Arizona 26 44 0.371
      Texas 25 47 0.347
      Baltimore 24 49 0.329
      Washington 23 50 0.315

      Clearly, under this different set of rules for draft order, teams like Washington, Baltimore, Texas and others would’ve behaved differently all season long (instead of tanking) in order NOT to end up where they did, drafting in the teens. Maybe you would want to do a lottery for the 9-16 spots to give hard luck teams a chance at drafting higher.

    • Stock

      Everyone is placing far too much value on this draft slotting here. Washington received Gray, Ruiz, Carrillo and Casey to tank the 2021 season. This is far better than the first round draft pick period, let alone dropping from the 6th pick to the 12th pick.

      Picking players at age 18 or 21 is enough of a guess. Picking a 16 year old is even more of a guess. Soto was not a top 12 prospect when he signed in 2015 (he was in the top 13 though). Fernando Tatis was probably not in the top 25. His signing bonus was $700,000 (similar to Carlos Jorge ($500,000)) Jazz Chisolm is already in the majors and he signed for $200,000. Deivi Garcia signed for $300,000 and in in the majors.

      • Tom

        For the same reason you state, I don’t believe a 3, 4 or even 8 team lotto will stop teams from tanking. Anywhere in the top 8 is a good crack at talent acquisition. I think to prevent tanking you need to be as drastic as making it within their control to win more and improve as the season goes on or else suffer picking 14th, 15th, etc.

        The nationals were 42-44 when Scherzer made his last start. They would have had a good shot at the playoffs with 14 teams. And the whole mindset would have flipped if trading him would have meant worsening their second half chances at a good record.

  2. Tom

    I used to be for an international draft more emphatically, but the hard cap / pool allotments seem to have allowed all teams a fair shot at signing the best players.

    Now the ethical questions about how that happens is different.

    • BK

      Same here, as long as the process gives teams a fair shot of acquiring talent, I’m happy.

  3. MK

    Could see some real games being played with the prospect lists.Way to subjective.

    • BK

      That whole idea seems goofy to me. Of note, I don’t think the Red Sparrow would have even qualified as I don’t believe he was on any of the Top 100 (150) lists heading into 2021. Per baseballreference.com, his last Top 100 ranking was in 2019.

  4. MBS

    3 Changes are needed

    1) Increase revenue sharing, all TV deals need to be negotiated by the MLB as a unit like the NFL does. The only revenue that’s not split should be stadium generated revenue, tickets, beer, parking, stadium ads, and stadium naming rights.

    2) Salary caps and floors need to be adopted. I’m not sure what the limits should be, but it should be based on the median annual earnings of a MLB team. I don’t know if it should be 50% owners 50% players but to create an example lets say it is. The payroll cap should be 100% of the players money, but no lower than 75%. The 25% of the players money that didn’t go to payroll in one season must go to the players at the end of the season in bonuses. The bonuses could be based of of performance. Maybe use WAR as the measurement to divide up any remaining player money. There should also be no penalties for going over the cap, if the cause of going over is a mid season trade(s).

    3) Player development bonuses. If you bring a HS prospect up in 3 years or less to the majors, you get 3 pts, under 4 you get 1 pts. If you get a College prospect up in 2 years you get 3 pts, under 3 years 1 pts. BTW not cups of coffee, lets say 33% of a season to qualify. At the end of the season the the bottom 10 teams in the standings are ranked by the player development points they earned that year for the following draft.

    That should make the league a lot more even, and eliminate tanking. It will never happen, but I can dream.

    • Doug Gray

      Currently you have two sets of TV money. The local deals, which are negotiated by the teams for their local market. 30% of that money goes into a pool and is then redistributed evenly back to all of the teams. The other 70% just remains with the local team. Then there’s the national deals for games that show up on Fox/TBS/MLB Network/ESPN – those are negotiated by MLB and are split evenly among all teams.

      You are almost never going to see the local deals negotiated as 1 big thing because they aren’t on national broadcasts like NFL games are. Toss in that some teams have deals that last 20 years from today and other teams have deals that expire this year and it’s basically an impossible ask.

      2 is a big problem for so many reasons. First being that what counts as “baseball revenue” is going to be fought over because teams will claim stuff like RSN ownership stakes and the money made from that isn’t baseball revenue, while the players will say the only reason you have that ownership stake is because you took less TV deal money in trade for that ownership stake. Then there is the real estate deals that teams get when they get these new stadiums built for pennies on the dollar and then turn into massive revenue generating “non-baseball” operations that, again, only exists because they threatened to leave town and so the city gave them a discount on the land to build and expand on in the first place.

      Then there’s the WAR distribution of money thing – WAR sucks all kinds of awful at being close to accurate enough to use it this way. Take Wade Miley in 2021 as a perfect example – what WAR formula are we talking about? The one that said he was a 6-WAR player or the one that said he was a 2.8-WAR player? Which one is correct? We’ve had “corrections” long after seasons have ended in WAR calculations. How does something like that get taken care of after a guy has been paid? Does he have to send the owners money back if he “loses” value? Do the owners have to then send more money is he “gains” value?

      • MBS

        I don’t disagree these are pie in the sky kinda ideas, those also are my favorite to think of.

        Your 100% right about existing contracts being an issue, I’m sure there’s a work around on that, where the MLB could negotiate a block of teams, increasing the amount of teams that are available as existing contracts go out. But to the point of no way to do local games as a group, I think that’s wrong. Go where the money and the future is, streaming providers. Netflix, Amazon, or Disney is who I’d be targeting for new deals. Cable is becoming less and less relevant. I could easily see Amazon as the new “network” for all MLB games. Or if it was Disney, they own ESPN, so they could feature the “game of the day” on cable, and all others on their streaming service.

        Yes, getting teams to disclose their all their earnings would be tough or impossible. Ground rules about what is and what isn’t included into those figures would need to be determined before deciding what the percent of money goes to the players would be. Like I said I have no idea what the actual percent should be, I just used 50/50 as an example.

        WAR was just used as example of how to distribute the money owed to the players. It could be determined by a variety of ways, the idea was to get the players their portion of the profits. You could go as simple as take the remaining money owed to the players and divide that by the amount of innings each player played, and that’s their bonus.

        But again I don’t disagree that this is far fetched, I just like brainstorming ideas. If you ever need to come up with a solution to a problem, the best thing is to keep coming up with ideas, until the one with the best merit shows itself. Also poking holes as you fairly did, helps improve ideas.

  5. Scott C

    Having a lottery with at least top 8 picks lottery picks would probably help teams from sacking the season for a draft pick, however I think one thing should be that the worst team shouldn’t drop down more than the #4 pick.

      • Doug Gray

        The union wants teams to actually try and win baseball games. If you make it tougher to just lose and be the #1 or #2 pick then teams might try to win more often.

  6. RedFuture

    I’ve seen Tom’s idea about reversing the draft order in the past as well. I like it and I think one more anti-tanking idea could be employed. How about making the team with the worst record in each league play 84 road games and only 78 home games the following year. In other words, one otherwise 3-game home series would have to be played on the road. Better yet is to play that series in a non-MLB city that has expressed interest in obtaining a franchise. The opponent for the game would be the best non-playoff team from one of the other divisions of the same league. September is probably the best month for this 3-game series, but you could make an argument for playing it in June as well when the poor team’s attendance is at it’s peak!

  7. Stock

    I am not sure why the players association would approve these changes.

    Extra draft pick for winning rookie of the year.

    The Reds did not need Stephenson up in 2021 and if this rule were in effect the Reds may have held him back, given him one more year in AAA in the hopes of him winning rookie of the year in 2022.

    I understand the thinking that this rule will convince teams to start the season with a player in the lineup to give them an additiona advantage but Bryant won rookie of the year without this extra time. If a player is outside the top 150 but ready why not wait another year and try to win the extra draft pick? This rule would extend travel time and not reduce it.

    Same with MVP and Cy Young.

    Smart teams will still tank. The Nationals did it a bit late but when they went all out they went 100% per their potential payroll. They did not have to trade Soto and be all out because they can retool quickly with free agency.

    Teams like the Rays and Reds can’t be so conservative. The Rays traded Snell even though they knew they would compete in 2021 and he had two years left on their contract. Turns out they win the most competitive division in baseball even with the Snell trade. The Reds need to follow suit.

  8. Stock

    Should the Reds blow it up or go for it. As I see it this team will win 75-80 games next year. If they trade Castillo or Gray as rumored then 75 becomes a reach. I don’t consider trading one player blowing it up. I will provide my trade suggestions below. Love to hear what you think.

    I would make 8 simple trades. All deemed fair on baseballtradevalues.com. This is my definition of all out and building a team that can truly win the 2025 – 2030 World Series.

  9. Stock

    Trade #1 with the New York Mets.

    The Mets new owner Cohen is ready to win now. I am not sure he would trade his best prospect but this is my first trade. Remember as I go through this. I am all out for 2022 and 2023. Furthermore I am all in on the rebuild with these trades. I don’t include Moustakas in a trade as a salary dump.

    Francisco Alvarez for Luis Castillo.

    Alvarez is rated as a 60 prospect in Fangraphs (for comparison Greene is currently rated 50) and instantly becomes the Reds best prospect.

  10. Stock

    Trade 2a. Is with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Tyler Mahle to the Jays.

    Gunner Hoglund, Orelvis Martinez and CJ Van Eyk to the Reds.

    Martinez is currently a 55 rated prospects by Fangraphs and Hoglund is not rated but was a 1st round pick in the 2021 draft.
    Van Eyk was a 2nd round pick in 2020 and struck out 11.4/9 IP (4.4 BB/9) in A+ ball this year as a 22 year old.

  11. Stock

    Trade 2b is in case the Mets don’t do trade 1.

    Mets get Mahle

    Reds get Ronny Mauricio (55 rating by fangraphs) and Mark Vientos (45)

    The Mets have committed to Lindor so Mauricio is blocked and is available.

  12. Stock

    Trade 3a and 3b are with the Yankees. The Reds just traded for the #1 catching prospect in baseball so Stephenson is available.

    Yankees get Stephenson.

    Reds get Anthony Volpe. Volpe was just given a rating of 60 in Fangraphs. He becomes the Reds #1 prospect.

    The Yankees are loaded at SS and can trade at least one of them. They have Oswald Peralta (50) in AAA. Volpe made it to A+ ball this year. They have Alexander Vargas (50) in the complex league. They are expected to sign the #1 international prospect today (also a SS).

    Trade 3b. The Yankees refuse to let go of Volpe then certainly others are available. If this happens that would signal the Yankees probably plan to sign Correa or Story and move Volpe to 3B.

    Yankees get Farmer and Stephenson
    Reds get SS Oswald Peraza (50), SS Alexander Vargas (50), SP Luis Medina (50), OF Austin Wells (40+) and Yeondrys Gomez (45+)

  13. Stock

    Trade #4 with the Dodgers.

    I think baseballtradevalues.com overrates RP but here is what they say is an even trade.

    Reds trade: Sims and Art Warren
    Dodgers trade: CF Andy Pages (50), SP Ryan Pepiot (45+) and CF Luis Rodriguez (40+).

    Pages is the target here so even if the Dodgers are not willing to includ Pepiot and Rodriguez I say yes.

  14. Stock

    Trade #5 is with the Philadelphia Phillies.

    The Phillies need a LF. Winker could be the man to push them over the edge here. They may be more inclined to sign Castellanos or Bryant rather than trade for Winker.

    Phillies get: Jessie Winker, Tony Santillan and Vladimir Gutierrez
    Reds get: Mick Abel (60) and Hao Yu Lee (40+).

    At this point Greene has dropped from our #1 prospect to # 5

    Alvarez, Volpe and Abel are 60 prospects.
    Martinez is a 55.
    Greene, Lodolo and Pages are 50 prospects.
    Gunner Hoglund (probably), Pepiot, Gomez and Austin Hendrick are 45+ prospects.

  15. Stock

    Trade #6. I don’t know if the Twins are trying to win or rebuild. But they need a SP badly if they are trying to win.

    Twins get: Sonny Gray
    Reds get: Jordan Balazovic (50) and Josh Winder (45).

  16. Stock

    Reds fans may hate trades 7 and 8. But again I am looking long term.

    Trade 7 is with the Red Sox.

    The Red Sox need a 2B and India is the perfect fit for the Green Monster.

    Red Sox get India
    Reds get: SS Marcello Mayer (55), SP Bryan Mata (45+), Brayan Bello (40+), SP Jay Groome (40+) and OF Juan Chacon (40)

    The Reds get another great prospect in Mayer. A very good prospect SP in Mata and a young OF who had a K/BB ratio of 1 in the DSL.

  17. Stock

    Trade #8 is with the Angels who need a SS badly.

    Reds get: OF Jo Adell (60), SS Arol Vera (45) and 2B Adrian Placencia (40+)
    Angels get: Jose Barrero

    I love Adell and Vera and the Reds have plenty of SS for 2024 – 2030.

  18. Stock

    Position player prospect after these 8 trades as rated by fangraphs in 2022 or 2021 (if his 2022 rating for the curren team are not released yet).

    60: Francisco Alvarez (C, 2022 rating), Anthony Volpe (SS, 2022)
    55: Orelvis Martinez (3B, 2022 preliminary), Marcello Mayer (SS, 2022 preliminary)
    50: Andy Pages (CF, 2021), Elly De La Cruz (2022 preliminary)
    45+: Austin Hendrick (OF, 2021)
    45: Arol Vera (SS, 2022), Matt McLain (SS, 2021), Tyler Callihan (2B, 2021)

    Pitching prospects:

    60: Mick Abel (2022)
    50: Jordan Balazovic (2021), Greene (2021), Lodolo (2021)
    45+: Bryan Mata (2021), Ryan Pepiot (2021), Hoglund (guess) and Gomez (2022)
    45: Josh Winder (2021)

    Bonnin and Ashcraft were rated as 40 prospects in 2021 but feel they will be 45 prospects in 2022 when Fangraphs updates their rankings.

    If you rank based upon the latest fangraphs FV Matt McLain is not in the Reds top 15 prospect list.

  19. Stock

    Who is in Cincinnati in 2024?
    C: Alvarez (60)
    1B: Votto (50 when he was a prospect),
    2B: Senzel (55 when he was a prospect)
    SS: Volpe (55)
    3B: Martinez (55)
    LF: Adell (60 when he was a prospect)
    CF: Pages (50)
    RF: McLain (45)
    Bench:, Suarez, Schrock, TJ Friedl and Matheu Nelson

    Nice that McLain is the worst rated prospect in the starting lineup.

    Here are 9 pitchers that should be ready for the majors by 2024:

    Mick Abel (55), Greene (50), Lodolo (50), Balazovic (50), Mata (45+), Winder (45), Bello (40+), Ashcraft (40) and Bryce Bonnin (40).

  20. Stock

    This excludes the 2022 draft picks, the 2023 draft picks and if this trade is completed the 2023 1st round pick should be a top 3 pick as well as the 2024 and 2025 draft picks.

    By 2026 we are finished with the current ML players:

    By 2026
    C: Alvarez (60)
    1B: De La Cruz (50)
    2B: Mayer (55)
    SS: Volpe (55)
    3B: Martinez (55)
    LF: Adell (60 when he was a prospect)
    CF: Pages (50)
    RF: McLain (45)

    Bench: Hinds (45), Vera (45), Austin Hendrick (45+), Jay Allen (40+), Callihan (45), Schrock, TJ Friedl and Matheu Nelson (Vellojin and Jackson are other catchers).

    Starting pitching and the bullpen:

    Greene (50), Lodolo (50), Balazovic (50), Mick Abel (55), Mata (45+), Gunner Hoglund (NR but at least 45+), Winder (45), Roa (40+), Van Eyk (40+), Bello (40+), Ashcraft (40), Bryce Bonnin (40), Boyle (35+), Thomas Farr (NR) and Abbott (NR)

    This team is stacked. Both pitching and offensively.

    • Tom

      I love these kind of scenarios. Wish it were simple to make 8 trades though!

    • Old Big Ed

      Meh. To a certain extent, you are just showing off your knowledge of other teams’ farm systems. (And you break the cardinal rule of development: Never, never, never trade for a Yankee prospect, because they are always way over-rated. The same will be true of the Mets soon enough.)

      The Reds might win in 2027 under that approach, but by then all the players would be making the same boatloads of money that today’s guys are, so they would have to do the same thing in 2028, with the idea of having another chance in 2032.

      There is a business element to this. Your trades would result in a complete collapse in gate revenues for 2022-24 at least, plus the TV ratings would go down and the Reds’ equity interest in the local broadcasts would sink. Deliberately crushing revenue streams is almost never a good business strategy. The Reds aren’t going to do this, as I am sure that you understand, although it might help them become the Nashville Reds.

      I can get on board with trading one of the starting pitchers, either now or at mid-season, if they get a steal of a prospect.

  21. Old Big Ed

    Teams don’t really tank to get high draft picks. They generally tank because they are stuck with terrible contracts that their management gave out years before.

    In the last 9 drafts, the most productive MLB player so far has been Dansby Swanson (2015), who has a cumulative 8.8 WAR, all accumulated for a team that did not draft him. He’s a solid but middling shortstop. The only other top choice in the last 9 drafts with a positive WAR is Casey Mize (2018 Auburn; Detroit), who seems like he is starting a solid career. Granted, Spencer Torkelson (2020) and Adley Rutschman (2018) are close to MLB ready, but four of these guys (Mark Appel, Brady Aiken, Mickey Moniak and Royce Lewis (2017, ahead of Hunter Greene) have a collective -0.3 WAR in a collective 29 MLB games.

    The Tigers began to tank (to get Mize in ’18 and Torkelson in ’20) late in the 2017 season, when they collapsed from 86 wins in ’16 to 64 wins in ’17. Miguel Cabrera had a 93+ OPS in 2017, and the Tigers still owed the then 34-year-old Miggy at least $184 million. They still owed $74 million to pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, who had a 6.08 ERA in 2017. The Tigers traded Justin Upton to the Angels at the 2017 trade deadline to the Angels, still owing him $92 million. They owed a 39-year-old Victor Martinez (fresh off a 86 OPS+ in 2017) another $18 million in 2018. They owed $6.2 million to Jose Iglesias and $11 million for 2018, and paid Anibal Sanchez $5 million to get out of his 2018 option.

    The Tigers owed Justin Verlander $28 million for both 2018-19, and dispatched him (and a total of $16 million) to the Astros at the deadline, and traded JD Martinez (who would be a free-agent) as a rental to the Diamondbacks.

    The Tigers had no chance to compete (or to make any money) in 2018 and beyond, and they tanked. The Orioles are similar, beginning with the preposterous decision to give Chris Davis a long-term deal, but were also developmentally inept.

    The Reds aren’t close to this, but they did give illogical contracts to Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiayama, which coincided with COVID-19 and collapsing local revenue. The Reds have a good farm system, and the bad contracts are short-term enough not be crippling. The Reds are at least semi-competitive.

    But teams don’t tank for draft picks; they tank to get out of the financial morass of bad contracts. Tanking isn’t really the issue. The issue is how to devise a system that provides for revenue sharing, without incentivizing the smaller-market teams to settle for being profitable but only semi-competitive.

    • Tom

      I’ve observed them specifically tank for high draft position which also amounts to a higher draft pool which can lead to drafts like the Pirates where they are really scoring top 50 talent into the third round because of signing bonus.

      No doubt there is the financial component of it too. So it is both getting rid of bad contracts and vying for the worst record in order to have the most success possible in the draft. It’s a very long and anti-competitive approach to winning. Personally I don’t like it at all but I’ve learned to follow it as a fan of a small-market team.