David Ortiz cautions against international draft as MLB-MLBPA negotiations continue.
The negotiations between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Union seemed to be going better this week, but now, they are stalled at a significant roadblock (of the league’s creation):
Implementing an international draft.
And one of the most prominent international players of the last two decades, Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, is not in favor. ESPN’s Jeff Passan revealed Wednesday that a voice message from the soon-to-be Hall of Famer made the rounds in “Dominican baseball circles,” in which he “came out strongly against the international draft.”
David Ortiz: International Draft must be implemented with caution
Passan then followed up with Ortiz:
Unlike the people proposing the international draft, Ortiz knows firsthand what it’s like to grow up outside of the United States, hoping that baseball will be a way to a better life. However, as Passan noted in his thread, the road to that better life is paved with corruption, money, PEDs, and unsavory business practices. Essentially, Ortiz knows how the sausage is made, but MLB and its henchmen are the ones who make it.
Based on his quotes, Ortiz seems to be unaware that MLB would not implement the new draft right away; according to a league official, it would begin in 2024. If they are given over a year and involve people who want to do it right, then it could work, in theory.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that MLB cares as much about doing this right as someone like Ortiz does. It’s personal for him in a way that it never will be for them, and that’s clear from the way they seemingly threw the international draft into the mix. From the outsider’s perspective, they approached this like drugstores keeping small items like candy and lip balm by the register, hoping you’ll see the items as insignificant enough cost to throw in with the overall purchase. A change of this magnitude should be given the planning and care it deserves, but MLB has made it clear over the last three months that the human element of the sport is not their primary concern.
Apple announces new partnership with MLB to stream games
Everything MLB does is centered on making as much money as possible, no matter the cost to the game itself. On Tuesday, Apple announced a new partnership with the league, which adds even more tv money to MLB’s coffers. It was also revealed that MLB is sitting on several other new revenue streams, in an attempt to convince the public that they are not enormously profitable while they try to shortchange their players.
Whether it’s 2022 or 2024, MLB throwing the international draft into the mix at the eleventh hour is not ideal for a league now 100 days into lockout. That they’re once again trying to sneak something by the players, as Ross Stripling revealed last week, feels suspect. It’s highly probable that MLB threw the international draft in to prolong the negotiations, knowing that the union would balk at such a significant addition at the last minute and turn down the league’s latest proposal, forcing the cancelation of more games. According to Stripling, this wouldn’t be the first time the league teed something up for the union to knock down, a tactic employed to paint the players as the bad guys.
At best, MLB knows something the rest of us don’t. At worst, they want something they shouldn’t be allowed to have. Either way, don’t fall for it.