By RONALD BLUM | May 2, 2020 at 3:05 AM EDT – Updated May 2 at 3:05 AM
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball owners will discuss a length for the amateur draft next week and are likely to start the selections on the original date of June 10, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press.
Teams and the players’ association agreed March 26 to a deal that allowed MLB to cut the draft from 40 rounds to as few as five this year and 20 next year, part of a plan to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic that delayed the start of the season and slashed revenue. As part of the agreement, the sides agreed to leave the assigned slot values of draft signing bonuses at the same level in 2020 and 2021 as they were last year.
That left the total of slot values for a 10-round draft this year at $265.5 million, including $29.6 million for rounds six through 10.
MLB proposed to the union that it would guarantee a 10-round draft in exchange for the slot values for rounds 6-10 being cut by 50%. The union rejected that plan, a person familiar with the decision said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the move was not announced.
The union’s decision to reject the plan was first reported by The Athletic and the move to keep the draft on June 10 by the New York Post.
Rather than resume negotiations, teams intend to debate the size of the draft and make a decision, the person said.
Signing bonus pools started in 2012 and limit the amount of money teams can spend. Each slot in the first 10 rounds is a signed a value — the range last year was $8,415,300 down to $142,200 — and each team’s values are added to a form a pool. Signing bonuses in the first 10 rounds count against the pool along with the amounts above $125,000 of players selected after the 10th round or who were bypassed in the draft and then signed.
A team that exceeds it pool is taxed, and a club more than 5% above loses a first-round draft pick the next year — a threshold never reached.
As part of the March agreement, players and teams agreed that any draft-eligible player not selected this year or next would be limited to a signing bonus of no more than $20,000.
MLB’s offer that the union rejected included an additional limit of only five bypassed players at up to $20,000, with the rest held to a maximum of $5,000.
The union agreed in March that signing bonuses can be deferred: up to $100,000 will be due within 30 days of approval, and 50% of the rest payable on July 1 in each of the following two years.
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