The league moved to a five-round MLB draft to save a minuscule amount of money in player salaries. Rebuilding and small-market teams should be furious.
Rebuilds have been all about acquiring talent through the MLB draft, and the more rounds mean, the more talent you can add. Yeah, you have to spend a little more out of pocket to sign that talent. Still, if you already cut cost by shedding all your top tier talent, you can afford to eat that cost better then teams that spent to the brim trying to win now.
Sure, I’m a little biased as a Baltimore Orioles fan, but you can’t tell me that the Detroit Tigers are feeling any better about losing out on some draft rounds. Rebuilding teams are taking the brunt of a shortened draft. In contrast, organizations like the Dodger and Yankees will reap the benefits that come from being able to sign as many undrafted free agents as possible.
More from Call to the Pen
- Philadelphia Phillies, ready for a stretch run, bomb St. Louis Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: The 4 players on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
- Boston Red Sox fans should be upset over Mookie Betts’ comment
- Analyzing the Boston Red Sox trade for Dave Henderson and Spike Owen
- 2023 MLB postseason likely to have a strange look without Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals
The league has tried to sell it as a positive since teams will be able to sign as many undrafted free agents as possible, but this doesn’t help rebuilding teams. The top talent remaining after five rounds isn’t going to be looking for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in 40 years, and why should they?
The goal of a rebuilding team is to acquire as much young talent as possible, what better way to do that than with a draft? Instead, they get shortchanged with a miniature draft that will help keep the status quo in place.
The furor of the small market club:
Teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have the prestige and a track record of producing elite-level talent, then paying them handsomely for it.
Given a choice, why wouldn’t a player want to spend their entire career with a single club? Teams like the Oakland Athletics have a track record of drafting talent, then flipping it for more prospects when they get too expensive to resign.
From a player’s perspective, why not just sign with the team that will be willing to spend the money to keep you long term if you perform? Now, if you’re not drafted in the first five rounds, you have that chance. Teams from large markets, like the Astros, Dodgers, and Yankees, will clean up thoroughly with undrafted free agents.
Meanwhile, teams like the Athletics and Rays are going to struggle to bring in the players they want. Organizations have built entire scouting departments and front offices based on the current system. Changing it at the last minute, even if there is a pandemic going on, throws a wrench into the entire system.
Small ball and the art of rebuilding isn’t built for a short MLB draft, and there’s no reason to punish these teams for trying to work the system that was in place before by changing it at the last minute.
The league can try and sell it to them as a cost-saving measure all they want; small market clubs need the draft. A relatively measly one million dollars a team isn’t going to change that in the slightest.