Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball is considering canceling the 2020 amateur draft. It is one of many issues the league is trying to address along with the union while the world addresses the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league is also considering putting off the upcoming international signing period.
Canceling the draft would be a huge deal, not just for the players who would be drafted this year. It would also lower the value of other players in the 2021 draft. What might have otherwise been first rounders may become second rounders, second rounders become third rounders, and so forth. The same goes for international free agents who may not get signed until next year.
The AP mentions that other issues that are being discussed at the moment include service time and scheduling. The union suggests players should be given a full season of service time even if the season ends up getting canceled while the league wants to have proportional service time awarded for a season shorter than 130 games. Additionally, it has been suggested that teams play doubleheaders and “deep into autumn” at stadiums in warmer areas, the AP notes, in order to complete a full — or at least lengthier — season.
The list doesn’t end there, though. Among the other myriad issues on the table, per the AP: salary adjustments, luxury tax rules, revenue sharing, performance bonuses, and relaxing schedule and roster rules.
These are unprecedented times in modern baseball history, so there isn’t really a road map for handling these issues. Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo has heard the draft cancellation idea referred to as “farfetched,” which makes sense because it’s where teams access the absolute best bang for their labor buck. But who knows?