More details about draft changes resulting from baseball's new collective bargaining agreement continue to trickle out. Some highlights:
The Orioles have hired Gary Rajsich (pronounced Ray-sitch) as the team's director of amateur scouting. Rajsich takes the place of Joe Jordan, who left the club in October to become farm director for the Phillies.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenge," Rajsich said. "This is something I always wanted to do. The last nine years I've been looking at pro players that belong to someone else and now I have the chance to go out and evaluate players for the draft and players you can actually get. In that sense, it's very exciting. To me, scouting is scouting no matter what level and just to recognize talent, bring those kids into the system, watch them develop and watch them compete and win for you at the major league level is very satisfying."
Rajsich, 57, spent four years in the big leagues (1982-1985) as an outfielder for the Mets, Cardinals and Giants after being an 11th-round pick by the Astros out of Arizona State in 1976, where he was college teammates with another scouting director, R.J. Harrison of the Rays. Rajsich played for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan from 1986-1988.
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The Type A/Type B free-agent compensation system will be eliminated under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. In the final offseason of the old system, MLB and the MLB Players Association made some modifications.
The compensation for Type A free agents remains the same: A first-round pick from the signing team, as well as a supplemental first-round choice. Clubs that finished in the bottom half of the major league standings have their first-rounders protected from compensation, and teams can't lose consolation picks for failure to sign players from the previous draft. If a club signs multiple Type A free agents, the team that lost the higher-ranking player gets the better choice.
Six Type A free agents (Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Francisco Rodriguez, Josh Willingham) were designated as modified Type A free agents. Rather then getting a pick from the signing team, the former club will get a a choice immediately preceding that pick along with the normal supplemental first-rounder.
In my previous Draft Blog post, I explained why the new Collective Bargaining Agreement's penalties for what is deemed to be excessive draft spending may not be as harsh as initially feared. Here's some analysis on various draft-related provisions of the new CBA:
Draft cap: Teams that exceed the "aggregate signing bonus pool" assigned to them for the first 10 rounds of the draft are subject to a tax on the overage and a loss of draft picks. A 0-5 percent overage would result in a 75 percent tax; a 5-10 percent overage would result in a 75 percent tax and the loss of a first-round pick; a 10-15 percent overage would result in a 100 percent tax and the loss of first- and second-rounders; and a 15 percent or higher overage would result in a 100 percent tax and the loss of two first-rounders.
If the overall bonus pool is approximately $200 million as has been reported, up from MLB's $133 million in slot recommendations in 2011, clubs still can be aggressive but not as much at the top end. I think the end result will be that the top picks in the draft still will sign, though the high-end bonuses will come down a little so teams don't blow most of their cap on one player. The top high school players still will sign, as seven-figure bonuses still will be alluring.
More second-tier prep players will wind up in college, however. Guys who previously would have gotten $250,000 to $750,000 will be harder to fit into a club's draft budget, especially those after the 10th round (if they sign for more than $100,000, the difference counts against the pool). Teams squeezed college juniors in 2011, figuring they didn't have much leverage unless they were willing to return for their senior years and have no leverage in the next draft, and they may tighten the clamps further in the future to free up more cap space.
When Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement today, including several changes to the draft, reaction from club executives and player agents was as swift as a Justin Verlander fastball. Most contacted by Baseball America or quoted elsewhere believed new penalties for exceeding bonus recommendations were so harsh that they would drastically alter the landscape of the draft.
That may not be the case. Until we learn exactly what those recommendations are, it's impossible to make an accurate judgment.
Under the new CBA, teams that exceed the "aggregate signing bonus pool" assigned to them for the first 10 rounds of the draft are subject to a tax on the overage and a loss of draft picks. A 0-5 percent overage would result in a 75 percent tax; a 5-10 percent overage would result in a 75 percent tax and the loss of a first-round pick; a 10-15 percent overage would result in a 100 percent tax and the loss of first- and second-rounders; and a 15 percent or higher overage would result in a 100 percent tax and the loss of two first-rounders.
That's a dramatic difference from the informal slotting system MLB had employed since 2000. The commissioner's office recommended specific bonuses for every pick in the first five rounds and a maximum for all subsequent choices, but couldn't really punish teams that decided to ignore those guidelines. In 2011, clubs spent a record $228 million on draft bonuses, and 20 of them exceeded their aggregate slot totals for the first 10 rounds by at least 15 percent.
However, the initial assumption that the new penalties would be based on something near the old slots doesn't appear to be correct. Last year, MLB valued the total worth of the 331 picks in the first 10 rounds at $133 million. Those slot numbers were less that MLB's guidelines from five years earlier, however, and were 44 percent lower than the $192 million teams paid to sign 303 of those players.
MLB won't get to unilaterally decide the worth of draft picks going forward, though. It negotiated the values with the union, and they reportedly (and not surprisingly) will be much higher. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman and CBS Sports' Danny Knobler tweeted that the aggregate pools would range from $4.5 million to $11.5 million, depending on how many picks a team had and where they fell. Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweeted that the total pool for all 30 teams would be around $200 million.
If you use MLB's 2011 slot recommendations, 20 of the 30 teams would have paid a 100 percent tax on their overage and forfeited two first-round picks. If the total for the first 10 rounds rises from last year's $133 million to the reported $200 million, that's a 50 percent increase. Extrapolating the 2011 numbers, just six clubs would have received the maximum penalty.
The limits on draft spending will restrict teams such as the Pirates (who spent a draft-record $17 million on bonuses in 2011) and Royals ($14 million), who are aggressive in the draft but can't go toe to toe with baseball's big spenders for major league free agents. But if the reports from Heyman, Knobler and Passan are correct, the draft cap isn't as devastating a blow as initially feared.
The fifth-annual Jesse Flores Memorial All Star Game was set to take place Nov. 12, but the game was canceled due to rain and will not be rescheduled.
The annual Southern California high school all star game is played as a tribute to the late Jesse Flores, a longtime Southern California scout, and the players are selected by the Professional Baseball Scouts of Southern California.
During Flores' scouting career—most of which was spent with the Twins—Flores signed several big leaguers, including Bert Blyleven, Lyman Bostock, Reggie Smith, Rick Dempsey, Craig Nettles and Jesse Orosco. For more on Flores, check out this excellent feature written by Gustavo Arellano for the OC Weekly in 2007.
Even though the game was canceled, here are the players that were voted to the two teams. . .
With new openings in the Padres' front office, new general manager Josh Byrnes has hired Chad MacDonald as the team's vice president and assistant general manager of player personnel.
MacDonald is essentially taking the place of Jason McLeod, who left to reunite with Theo Epstein in Boston, and Chris Gwynn, who was recently hired as the Mariners farm director.
"It's a great opportunity that was almost impossible to turn down," MacDonald said. "Any time you get a chance to have added responsibility and you have a chance to impact a major league organization, it's exciting and challenging and to be able to work with Josh (Byrnes), I'm excited about that. I think the world of Josh and that's something I'm excited to do is help him build a winner in San Diego." [...] Continue Reading »
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