SEE ALSO: International Draft Archives
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressed confidence on Wednesday that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be agreed to by the Dec. 1, when the current CBA expires.
Manfred, speaking to reporters at the annual GM meetings, said negotiations are progressing with the MLB Players Association.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to do that,” Manfred said. “Collective bargaining is one of those processes where it’s difficult to predict with certainty when things are going to take place.”
Manfred addressed multiple topics in his press conference, including the proposed international draft.
He spoke in favor of an international draft, without providing a timeline or details for implementation.
“From my perspective there’s two things about the international draft that are overriding in terms of their importance,” Manfred said. “No. 1, I believe in today’s climate in baseball, entry-level talent is crucial and that an effective draft system is a really important way to preserve competitive balance. It’s not about money. It’s not about paying people less. It’s about access to talent and giving out that access in a way that is pro-competitive balance.
“(Secondly), one of the things in this process is transparency is a great thing. It solves a whole lot of problems that are difficult to handle otherwise. A draft is a very transparent system and I think the industry (and) the amateur players outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico would benefit greatly from a system that is more transparent.”
Also on the international front, Manfred said he was not concerned about any effect President-elect Donald Trump may have on international relations for baseball.
“What the President-elect is thinking from a policy perspective is probably not as granular as to affect anything in the game going on in the next couple of years,” Manfred said. “I’m not concerned it’s going to affect anything we do the next few years.
“I haven’t heard anything with respect to the Cuban issue that would suggest anything will change, and I think we’re all familiar the things he’s said about Mexico. I think we need to wait and see what actually happens.”
Manfred added that the participation of professional players in the 2020 Olympics has not yet been formally discussed with the International Baseball Federation. Baseball is returning to the 2020 Games in Tokyo after a 12-year absence.
“We’ve had an exchange of letters,” Manfred said. “We’ve asked them to come in and explain to us exactly what the program is going to look like and to give us a firm evaluation of what can be done and what can’t be done. That meeting has not taken place yet.”