MLB and the players' association agreed on Thursday on a series of proposals to address the commercial complications created by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Players have already ratified the pact and teams are expected to do so on Friday.
The deal reportedly guarantees players at least some service time by 2020, provides $ 170 million in salary advances to players, freezes transactions, and moves forward based on schedule changes to recover the postponed games.
There was also agreement on potentially large adjustments elsewhere in the industry: the amateur draft and international signings.
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The key changes, according to The Associated Press:
– Management can reduce this year's draft from 40 rounds to five rounds and next year's draft to 20 rounds.
– The 2020 draft could take place until July 20. It was originally scheduled for June 10 to coincide with the start of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The NCAA canceled the tournament in early March.
– Two-year deferrals of signature bonuses agreed in 2020 and 2021. This would serve as coverage against large loss of income caused by games not played.
– The maximum signing bonus for non-selected players will be $ 20,000. The initial MLB proposal was $ 10,000. A five-round draft would necessarily create hundreds of undrafted free agents.
– MLB may delay the start of the next international signing period until January 15, 2021, beginning July 2.
Amateur players cannot gain gaming experience and showcase their skills to pre-draft scouts because high school and college seasons have been canceled across the country. College players may earn an additional year of NCAA eligibility due to cancellations; The association will vote on the matter on March 30.