International Baseball Draft Long Overdue

Bill MckillopCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2009

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 10:  Pedro Martinez #45 of The Dominican Republic celebrates getting out of the seventh inning against The Netherlands during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool D match on March 10, 2009 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

There is no doubt that Major League Baseball is a global melting pot with players from Asia, South America, Canada, and the United States. With all of this talent coming from all over the world, it's time for MLB to institute a Global Draft. MLB is probably on par if not a little ahead of  the NBA with its Global stars across professional sports leagues. 

Japanese Players—The players like Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, and Daisuke Matsuzaka are purchased from their team in Japan for a right to negotiate with these players. In the case of Matsuzaka, the Red Soxs payed about $50 million just for his rights.

They also paid him roughly another $50 million for his services. The players are classified as professional players since they play in professional baseball in Japan.

Latin Players—These players from Venezuela and mostly the Dominican can be drafted as amateur free agents at the age of 16. In 2009 players from the Dominican Republic received $35.8 million in signing bonuses from teams in MLB according to ESPN.  

American Players—These players have to be atleast 16 and have graduated High School or have a GED equivalent. Some players do sign out of High School and begin their career in the Minor League System. With the NCAA limiting the Scholarships schools can give out for baseball to 10-and-a-half, this limits the supply of talent as players may choose other sports.  

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Part I

A global draft would allow for MLB to manage and run Camps for the 16-year-old players to play in the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, etc. Then, at 18, they register for supplemental type draft for all teams to have a shot at after they been scouted for almost two years.

MLB can use some of the revenue sharing dollars it currently gives to owners to funds these camps and clinics globally. Let’s say MLB allocates $5 million less per team for revenue sharing to go to the development Camps.

In July of 2008, the “small market” Oakland A’s signed 16-year-old Michael Inoa to a $4.25 million bonus with the hopes he will help the big club by 2010 or 2011. This is $4.25 million less the A’s can spend on a big league product.

It can also use some former big leagues to become ambassadors for the local camps. (i.e Pedro Martinez can be a spokesperson for the Dominican camp.)  It would give MLB two years to help educate players on the transition to pro ball and life in America. It would also give them  time to cover the PED policy and provide testing.

Part II

Work with the NCAA on increasing baseball scholarships to let’s say 15 or 16 players up from 10-and-a-half. You could even make the five of six reserved based on race to help bring Afro American Players back to the game. This would be an extension of the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program in MLB.

Part III

Partner with the Nippon Professional baseball in Japan ( http://japanesebaseball.com/) to help distribute the product, finance expansion, and such, in exchange for a better system of  player exchange. Spending $50 million for the rights to negotiate with a player limits the teams the player can play for.

MLB can not continue to leave the heavy lifting of finding new talent and building inroads to global markets to the teams.  They need a better system to bring talent to the market place that is fair for all the teams in the League.

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©2009 The Fair Ball. All Rights Reserved.

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