How an International Draft Would Impact the Yankees


The New York Yankees would be one of the clubs most handicapped by the international draft proposed by owners for the next collective bargaining agreement.

The New York Yankees are running out of ways to use their financial advantage. Major League Baseball’s luxury tax has done its job, effectively halting the growth of the Yankees payroll. The implementation of the “bonus pool” system in the June amateur draft removed their ability to outspend other clubs for the best young talent.

Now it appears the team’s rival owners will be closing yet another avenue for the Yankees to spend big. Buster Olney of ESPN reports that MLB is pushing for an international draft that would be implemented in March of 2018 in the next collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA expires in December and the two sides have already begun working towards a new deal.

There have been rumors about this idea for a while, but this is the first credible report that it may actually be happening. If MLB owners are making this their priority in the upcoming CBA, the players’ association doesn’t really have a huge incentive to fight it because it doesn’t impact their current constituency.

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Big league players wouldn’t really be affected by the changes, only amateurs, and we’ve seen in the past that the players’ association is much more willing to make concessions about  guys that are not actually part of their union.

According to Olney, the process would be a ten round draft that takes place over two days, with a bonus pool structure similar to what is in place for U.S. amateur players. In addition, the age of eligibility for international players would be raised from 16 to 18.

It is clear that this initiative is meant to benefit small and mid-market clubs by limiting the ability of team’s like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers, who have been aggressive on the international market in recent years, to spend freely.

New York famously dropped more than $30 million in bonuses to bring in 52 players, including 10 of the top 30 talents available according to Baseball America. Three of those prospects (Wilkerman Garcia, Hoy Jun Park, Freicer Perez)  have already cracked MLB Pipeline’s top 30, with many more likely to make the list next season after strong U.S. debuts.

It is also worth noting that the Yankees signed their budding young superstar, rookie catcher Gary Sanchez, by giving him a record-breaking $3 million bonus as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. That is exactly the kind of move this new system is designed to prohibit.

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Unfortunately, the Yankees and the other big-market clubs are once again in the minority on this issue, and an international draft is probably inevitable. The days of the Yankees and Red Sox dominating the market and the standings every year are probably gone, which ultimately is probably a good thing for the game, even if Bombers fans don’t like it.