One of the big stories going around the baseball world right now is the idea of implementing an international draft, and it’s having it’s fair share of opponents and proponents.
The MLB’s thinking, as laid out here by Buster Olney, is that an international draft would cut down on some of the seedier elements of signing international players, namely the corrupt handlers, often referred to as “buscones” (basically, street agents), that swoop these kids up in hopes of big paydays.
They also seem to be concerned about young latin players getting all juiced up, in hopes of landing one of those big time international signing bonuses. It’s all well and good that the MLB is looking out for them in this capacity, but that doesn’t have everyone convinced they’re doing this solely out of the kindness of their hearts.
As Stirrups noted in today’s HaloLinks, and as MLB Daily Dish points out, this is a move that could use the aforementioned concerns as a smoke screen to put into action an international draft that really doesn’t solve those problems, and instead creates a big time financial advantage for front offices across MLB.
An international draft like the one Rob Manfred could be proposing is really just going to benefit teams, even down to the small-to-mid-market clubs, because they now don’t have to compete with others when signing international players. These teams would be able to just draft young, Latin talent with the same type of money they would in the normal MLB draft, side-stepping the bigger contracts that many of these kids would get in the current system.
So, good for teams, but not necessarily good for the players. But if there’s one team it could definitely be a positive for is the Angels. They’ve had their woes in the international market, to say the least, and an international draft could help to make that particular talent pool more idiot-proof for the Halos’ front office.
Whether it’s just completely staying out of the international talent game, or whether it’s spending an exorbitant amount on the wrong guys ( cough Roberto Baldoquin cough ), or whether it’s trading that slot money for scrubs, the Angels just haven’t had a ton of good to come out of the international market. Meanwhile, fans watch as other teams find plenty of gems, thus making Arte, Billy Eppler and GMs of yesteryear look like they’re just twiddling their thumbs.
But...if you take the big money out of it, and throw these young players into a draft against their best wishes, then maybe a team as inept on the international market like the Halos are could all of a sudden be in a spot to make some positive headway in that realm...or at the very least, they’d have the ability to overspend on mediocre talent taken away from them, like a parent taking away a kid’s BB gun after they’ve shot one of their eyes out.
The international draft is just at the rumor stage right now, but it’s already got it’s detractors. If there’s a silver lining, though, it may be that the Angels are one of the teams that it helps. The only problem is that it’d be at the expense of an 18 year old kid who’s just looking to get paid and make a better life for himself. That’s quite the rub, if you ask me.