CBA Leads to Shakeup in 2012 Draft Rules
the first-year player draft a rare front-burner issue in the recent
renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League
Baseball and the Players Association, there are several significant
changes to the draft that go into effect this year.
most prominent is a quasi cap on signing bonuses, which punishes a
big-league club through the form of a tax, and potentially the loss
of premium draft picks, if it exceeds a specified bonus threshold.
slot through the first 10 rounds has now been assigned a specific and
mandated bonus amount, in descending order from $7.2 million for the
first overall pick to $125,000 for the last selection, and teams are
penalized if they spend more than the allowable amount in their
so-called Signing Bonus Pool—effectively, the cumulative total
available to a club to sign all its drafts picks in the top 10
on various forms of compensation that are awarded by way of draft
picks—mainly compensation for clubs losing Type A and B
major-league free agents last off-season, but also for failure to
sign premium draft picks in 2011—several teams will have additional
selections in the early rounds, and proportionately more money to
all, there will be 35 such extra selections, including 29 between the
end of the first round and start of the second. Effectively, 60 picks
will be made this year by the time the second round begins as there
will be 31 first-round selections. The Toronto Blue Jays gain an
extra first-round pick, the 22nd pick overall, for their
failure to sign righthander Tyler Beede (now at Vanderbilt), their
first-round pick in 2011.
Jays, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres will each make 14
selections through 10 rounds, and the Signing Bonus Pools for those
clubs have been revised upwards accordingly.
Minnesota Twins, though, will have the most bonus money to sign their
picks in the first 10 rounds this year, a total of $12,368,200 for 13
selections. That includes $6.2 million for the No. 2 pick overall--$1
million less than has been earmarked for the Houston Astros for the
contrast, the Los Angeles Angels will make only eight selections in
the first 10 rounds, the price for signing two premium free agents.
The Angels forfeit their pick in the first round for inking first
baseman Albert Pujols and in the second round for lefthander C.J.
Wilson, and their Signing Bonus Pool has been reduced to a mere
$1,645,700 as a result. They won’t make their initial selection
until pick No. 114, deep in the third round, and have been allocated
a bonus of just $416,300 to sign that pick.
other changes to the draft have been implemented, as they apply to
capping bonuses, and some of the highlights include:
a team pays out a bonus in the first 10 rounds that is less than the
designated slot amount (most likely to a college senior, who
typically has less bargaining leverage), it can apply the
differential to another pick in the first 10 rounds. For instance, if
the Astros elect to spend only $6 million on the No. 1 overall pick,
it can then apply the $1.2 million shortfall to the bonuses of other
picks in the first 10 rounds. However, the new CBA specifies that if
a team does not sign one of its picks in the first 10 rounds, that
money vanishes from its Signing Bonus Pool and the club is prohibited
from applying it to other draft selections.
Signing Bonus Value of $100,000 has been attributed to any draft pick
after the 10th round and any non-drafted free agent
signed. The SBV, however, will not be included in a club’s Signing
Bonus Pool and clubs may exceed the value for any selections after
the 10th round if they have money left over in their
Signing Bonus Pool. They can apply any difference without being
subject to penalty.
for the penalties for exceeding the Signing Bonus Pool, teams that
up to five percent, will be subject to a tax of 75 percent of the
5 to 10 percent, will be subject to a tax of 75 percent of the pool
overage and the loss of a first-round pick in the next succeeding
10 to 15 percent, will be subject to a tax of 100 percent of the pool
overage and the loss of first-round and second-round picks in the
next succeeding draft;
15 percent or more, will be subject to a tax of 100 percent of the
pool overage and the loss of first-round picks in the next two
new, more-restrictive bonus measures were enacted ostensibly to curb
continuing runaway inflation on signing bonuses in recent years, and
better assure that the best prospects end up with the weakest teams,
restoring the original premise of the draft.
other changes to the draft will go into effect this year, as well,
including a reduction in the number of rounds from 50 to 40, and a
new, mid-July signing deadline. For this year, that deadline will be
5 p.m. ET on July 13. In the past, the deadline was 12 midnight on
those changes in effect, here are some of the basic tenets of the
draft that are still applicable:
year’s draft is set for June 4-5-6. Round One (31 picks) and the
supplemental first-round (29 picks) are scheduled for June 4,
beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Rounds 2-15 will be conducted on June 5,
Rounds 16-40 on June 6.
League Baseball adopted the Rule IV draft in 1965, effectively making
baseball the last of the four major professional team sports in North
America to adopt a draft as the primary means of equitably
distributing the bulk of amateur talent entering the game.
draft has always been held in June—the same month as the NHL and
NBA drafts. Historically, it was conducted on the first Tuesday of
the month, but it has been held on a more-random basis in recent
years. Like the last two years, it begins on a Monday.
will be conducted by conference call among the 30 major-league clubs.
The clubs take turns selecting players in reverse order of their 2011
won-loss records, regardless of league, with adjustments in the first
three rounds stemming from various forms of compensation. The Houston
Astros own the No. 1 selection this year.
draft consists of 40 rounds—as opposed to 50 rounds from 1998-2011,
two rounds in the NBA draft, and seven in both the NFL and NHL
drafts. Each club is entitled to select for 40 rounds, but is not
required to do so.
years, the draft originated from the commissioner's office in New
York, but for the sixth year in a row the early portion of the draft
will be held at a remote location.
2007 and 2008, the first five rounds originated from Disney’s Wide
World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla., with the first round
televised by ESPN and its family of networks. Since then, the draft
has originated from MLB’s in-house network studios in Secaucus,
first round and supplemental first round (60 picks in all, same as
last year) are scheduled for June 4 in prime time, and will be
televised by the MLB Network. Though clubs will coordinate the draft
process from their home offices, numerous team representatives and
projected first-round picks are scheduled to be in attendance in
Two and Three of the proceedings will be conducted in traditional
fashion, originating from the commissioner’s office. The draft will
resume with Round 2 on June 5 and Round 16 on June 6.
team will be allowed up to five minutes to select a player in Round
1, with one minute permitted in the compensation round and through
Round 10. Teams will continue to draft players until they pass or
reach the 40th round, whichever comes first.
team may draft a player unless it has registered the player's name
with the commissioner's office, or his name has been submitted by the
Major League Scouting Bureau.
club that drafted a player in the past was required to physically
tender him a contract within 15 days of his selection, but that
provision has been eliminated with the new Collective Bargaining
selections will now be deemed to have been tendered a uniform
minor-league player contract with no signing bonus. By defaulting to
a standard minor-league contract, that now eliminates the provision
that a draft pick could be signed to a major-league contract (with
the resulting ability for a club to spread the player’s bonus over
several years), such as occurred on occasion with exceptional talents
through the years. A minor-league UPC generally requires a team to
pay a player half his signing bonus upon approval of his contract,
and the other half early in the next calendar year.
player who is drafted and does not sign with the club that selects
him may be drafted again in a future draft—as soon as he meets the
any player who is eligible to be selected but is passed over
altogether automatically becomes a free agent, free to sign with any
club. Under terms of the new CBA, however, he may not receive a bonus
in excess of $100,000 without being subject to penalties that apply
to drafted players selected after the 10th round.
league Rule IV rules govern which players are eligible for selection
in the draft. The basic eligibility criteria can be described as
a player is eligible for selection if he is a resident of the United
States or Canada, and the player has never before signed a
major-league or minor-league contract. Players who have played
professionally in an independent league are subject to selection.
Residents of Puerto Rico and other territories of the United States
are also eligible for the draft, as are players who enroll in a high
school or college in the United States, regardless of where they are
groups of players are ineligible for selection, generally because
they are still in school. The basic categories of players eligible to
be drafted are:
School players, if they have graduated from high school and have not
yet attended college or junior college;
players, from four-year colleges who have either completed their
junior or senior years, or are at least 21 years old. A player must
have attained his 21st birthday within 45 days of the
draft, and this year the qualifying date for a college sophomore is
July 21. Players who have dropped out of college also may be
eligible, providing they petitioned in writing to the commissioner's
office no later than March 22—75 days before the draft;
College players, regardless of how many years of school they have
player who is drafted and does not sign with the club that selected
him may be drafted again in a future draft, so long as the player is
eligible for that year's draft. A club may not select a player again
in a subsequent year, unless the player has consented to the
provisions are in the works, stemming from the revamped CBA, for
Major League Baseball to adopt a fully-integrated world-wide draft in
the future, possibly by 2013 or 2014.
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