MLB players reject international draft proposal

·2-min read

The players' union has rejected Major League Baseball's proposal to instil a draft for international players, keeping the current qualifying-offer system in place through the end of 2026.

The MLBPA issued its decision about eight hours before the midnight EDT deadline Monday.

A prospective international draft became a point of contention during last offseason's lockout and was delayed as a part of the March 10 settlement between the league and players.

While an international draft could have stimulated the free agent market for certain veteran players, most internationals favoured keeping the current system, which allows teams to sign foreign players from a designated pool of money and pay with draft-pick compensation.

"Players made clear from the outset that any international draft must meaningfully improve the status quo for those players and not unfairly discriminate between those players and domestic entrants," the MLBPA said in a statement announcing its decision.

"Our draft proposals – unprecedented in MLBPA history – sought to establish minimum guarantees in player signings, roster spots, infrastructure investments, playing opportunities, scouting opportunities, as well as enforcement measures to combat corruption.

"We also made proposals to compensate international signees more fairly and in line with other amateurs, and to ensure that all prospects have access to an educational and player development safety net."

The current system, which ties international signing bonus pool money as a penalty to the free agent qualifying offer, has led to a stagnation in the free agent market for older free agents.

"We are disappointed the MLBPA chose the status quo over transitioning to an international draft that would have guaranteed future international players larger signing bonuses and better educational opportunities, while enhancing transparency to best address the root causes of corruption in the current system," MLB said in a statement.

MLB's final proposal would have set a limit of $191 million allotted to a potential draft in 2024, while the players' last offer was for $260million.

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