Agent Scott Boras believes the agreement reached between Major League Baseball and the players’ union “sends the wrong message” when it comes to possibly shortening the draft and limiting the financial pool for amateur players.
Under terms of the agreement, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has the discretion to shorten the 2020 draft from 40 rounds to as few as five rounds, sources told ESPN. And he also has the right to shorten the 2021 draft to as few as 20 rounds.
“For owners to do this to these young men, who are so passionate about baseball, is something that they need to examine their conscience,” Boras told USA TODAY Sports in a story published Friday. “More kids will have to go to [college]. And anyone not taken among the top 200 players will have to go back to school.”
Sources said players drafted in 2020 will get only $100,000 of their bonus this year. The remaining amount will be split into payments made in July 2021 and July 2022.
“I’m a big proponent of college, so I want these kids to get their education, but what really bothers me is that kids outside the fifth round deserve their bonuses,” Boras told USA TODAY Sports. “And now they’re freezing their [bonuses] for the next two years, and are paying them late.”
He later added: “I just think in this climate and this environment, you should keep the status quo. You’re sending a message to drafted players: you are major league baseball’s step-child. It’s unconscionable to me for that small amount of money. We’re talking about a whopping $6 million savings over the whole damn draft.”
Boras said that by cutting the draft, teams will suffer.
“In reality, you are going to be surrounding [established] players with less-caliber players now,” Boras told USA TODAY Sports. “They need 10 rounds to fill their minor-leagues teams with talent. A sixth-round high school talent is a good player. An eighth-rounder out of college is a good player. They can be All-Star players. Now, they’ll be back in school.
“Really, we’re not giving them much of a choice.”