Major League Baseball and its players have agreed to limit this year's amateur draft to five rounds, down from the usual 40 rounds, ESPN's Jeff Passan and Kiley McDaniel reported Friday.
Baseball wanted to shorten the draft for financial reasons. It is trying to preserve cash after losing millions in revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic. Signing fewer players will help.
Passan and McDaniel reported that the sides settled on five rounds after the MLB Players Association rejected a proposal for a 10-round draft, but it appears both sides had reservations about going 10 rounds.
Passan reported on Twitter that a majority of clubs wanted 10 but received "strong" pushback from the teams that were opposed. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that player agents pushed their clients to turn down the proposal because no minimum signing bonus amount was set for players selected in Rounds 6-10.
Now, players who are not selected in this year's five-round draft will be able to sign as free agents for a maximum of $20,000. Teams can sign as many of those players as they want, Sherman reported.
Sherman reported the draft will begin as scheduled on June 10 and conclude June 11. The draft was to be held June 10-12 in Omaha, Neb., to coincide with the start of the College World Series, but the NCAA canceled the tournament in March as fears about the pandemic grew in the U.S.
Friday's reports tracked with similar information tweeted Thursday by Ernest Dove, who reports on Minor League Baseball.