The MLB and the players' association agreed on Thursday with a series of proposals to address business 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 guarantees players at least some service time for 2020, delivers $ 170 million in salary advances to players, freezes transactions and moves forward with time changes to compensate for postponed games.
There was also agreement on potentially large adjustments in another part of the industry: the amateur draft and international hires.
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 may take place until July 20. It was scheduled for June 10 to coincide with the start of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The NCAA canceled the tournament in early March.
– Two-year postponement of the subscription bonuses agreed in 2020 and 2021. This would serve to protect against large losses of revenue caused by games that are not being played.
– The maximum signing bonus for players not drawn will be US $ 20,000. The MLB's initial bid was $ 10,000. A draft of five rounds would necessarily create hundreds of other unpaid free agents.
– The MLB may postpone the start of the next international subscription period to January 15, 2021, starting July 2.
Amateur players are not able to gain gaming experience and show their skills to scouts before recruiting, because high school and college seasons have been canceled across the country. College players can earn an additional year of NCAA eligibility because of cancellations; the association will vote on the matter on March 30.