David Ortiz has expressed support for the idea of an international draft in Major League Baseball, but is still seeking input from players. The Boston Red Sox designated hitter stated he would not want to see a universal player draft implemented without his consent and that it should come with some safeguards being put into place first.
The “mlb lockout” is a possible outcome of the current MLB labor negotiations. David Ortiz, who has been open to an international draft and increased revenue sharing, has sought further input from players before implementation.
1:57 p.m. Eastern
ESPN’s Jeff Passan
- MLB insider on ESPN
- Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity,” “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of Sports’ Most Valuable Commodity”
Former Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz, possibly Dominican baseball’s most recognizable advocate, says he is open to the notion of an international draft but is dubious of its execution without major involvement from current and former players.
In a phone interview with ESPN on Wednesday, Ortiz said the draft suggested by Major League Baseball, which has been a flashpoint as the league and the MLB Players Association attempt to reach an agreement to end the players’ lockout, requires a lengthy implementation timeline.
“The Dominican Republic’s system is not equipped for a draft next year,” Ortiz stated. “The Dominican Republic is not the United States of America. You can’t just click your fingers and everything will work as it should. We have a new president who is striving to make things better. We must proceed cautiously.”
The Major League Baseball has suggested a draft system that would commence in 2024. The league would group clubs into pods of seven or eight and rotate draft positions every four years to provide equal access to elite amateur talent. Each team would choose in the top seven or eight once every four years. Undrafted athletes may sign for a maximum of $20,000 in the draft, which would include 20 rounds and 600 hard-slotted choices. Picks from other countries would be marketable.
The league claims that the draft system would ensure more money for international talent than the current system, which allows international amateurs to sign with any team but is limited by a hard cap that topped out at $6.26 million for eight teams in the 2021-22 signing class and was as low as $4.64 million for others.
Players must be 16 years old to join organizations, however clubs often sign multimillion-dollar contracts with youngsters as young as 12 and 13. Early signings, cash bribes, and trainers supplying performance-enhancing drugs to young boys are among the concerns that MLB thinks a draft would address in the foreign market.
According to ESPN, support for an international draft among the union’s rank-and-file is split. According to reports, the league’s implementation is linked to the elimination of direct draft-pick compensation, which penalizes clubs for signing elite free players.
Multiple obstacles, including the international draft and the difference between the league and the union on competitive-balance tax levels, continue to stymie an agreement to end the impasse, according to sources.
The international market has become a crucial component of the game, with about one-third of big league players from from Latin American nations and a greater number of minor leaguers hailing from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba, and other baseball hotbeds.
Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Ronald Acua Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jose Ramirez, Jose Altuve, Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and a slew of others are among the current players who have signed as international free agents.
MLB, which has already postponed the first week of games, had informed players that unless an agreement was reached by Tuesday, a second week would be canceled. The league decided to wait for a proposal from the MLBPA before delaying another set of games after 17 hours of meetings concluded early Wednesday.
According to a copy of the message acquired by ESPN, Ortiz urged others “to lead a robust campaign against the draft” in a voice message made to a group chat that has been extensively disseminated in Dominican baseball circles.
Ortiz said he recognized the potential advantages of a draft but was concerned of the implications in a follow-up interview with ESPN. He claims that a lengthier implementation timeline would enable the opinions of on-the-ground principals to be heard.
“Taking your time makes more sense,” Ortiz said. “All right, boys, let’s keep this going and accomplish it in three, four years.” We get down with the key names in the industry. We pay attention to what they say. Let’s do it correctly if we’re going to do it. It’s not proper to rush things like this.
“Baseball is huge in the Dominican Republic. Baseball is a great way to keep youngsters off the streets. We don’t want it to leave us alone. We want things to improve. That’s where I’m concentrating my efforts. There’s nothing else. We have the young on our side. Pedro [Martinez] and [Albert] Pujols are two people who want to be me. That’s something we can’t let go.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want those children to be harmed. I was already a baseball player. I used to have a job. I’m concerned about how the children are handled. I get that MLB wants complete control over everything they do, but you can’t expect the system to change overnight. Baseball is one of the Dominican economy’s hidden weapons. When it comes to a draft in the United States, you have options. Football and basketball are two options. In the D.R., you don’t have many options. To get out of Dominican, you’ll need to play baseball. That is all there is to it. You must exercise caution.”
The “David Ortiz open to international draft in MLB, seeks further input from players before implementation” is a story about the Boston Red Sox’s designated hitter and his thoughts on an international draft. Ortiz has expressed interest in the idea but wants more feedback from players before implementing it. Reference: nfl.
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