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  1. I understand why the MLBPA want their interests at the forefront, but they are thinking selfishly and only in the short term. It is better for the game’s popularity and longevity to recruit/sign the best talent available. Now that isn’t necessarily possible because of the financial limitations in the new CBA.

    Comment by SaberTJ — November 23, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  2. Totally on board with all this. One note: I could be mistaken, but I believe Bubba Starling was signed to a minor-league deal, as it would be highly unusual for as raw a HS bat as Starling to be signed to a Major-league deal and added to the 40-man. I haven’t looked at the 40-man in a while, but I’m pretty sure he’s not on it.

    Comment by Old Man Duggan — November 23, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  3. Matt, as a Royals fan, you should know better! Bubba Starling did not get a major league deal.

    (Also, to split hairs, it was $7.5 million, not $7 – but hey, when it gets to be so much, we’re only talking about money, right?)

    Comment by ecp — November 23, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  4. Has the NFL draft led to talented players leaving to go play soccer in Europe? Basketball? Nope. When an NFL team drafts a guy in the first round, it’s not a total crap shoot. I don’t understand why this is bad for baseball.

    Comment by Paul — November 23, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  5. Not only was it not a major league deal, it was also not a two-sport deal.

    Comment by Paul — November 23, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  6. Now there you’re wrong. It was a two-sport deal, but instead of the bonus being spread over the usual five years, it’s spread over three years.

    Comment by ecp — November 23, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  7. Plenty of potential NFL players (Joe Mauer, Carl Crawford, grady Sizemore for example) have spurned football in general for instant MLB money.

    Your comparison is silly, because by the time a player gets drafted in the first round in the NFL, he has ALREADY made a decision to play football over the other sports.

    The baseball draft happens before many of these two-sport stars have made that decision.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — November 23, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  8. Ah, right. They oddly only spread it over three years though when normally it’s 5.

    Comment by Paul — November 23, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  9. Sorry, people, I didn’t think it was a major-league deal, but as I was finishing this, I saw something that made me think otherwise for some reason. Correcting… I didn’t think the .5 made that much of a difference, but I will fix it for posterity.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 23, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  10. “The baseball draft happens before many of these two-sport stars have made that decision.”

    The baseball amateur draft is in June. Football recruits will have already signed their letter of intent. April 1 is traditionally the last day to sign a letter of intent; most top recruits sign in February. Most incoming freshman who have been offered scholarships to play football will enroll in summer school so they are eligible to practice with the team during summer workouts.

    The signing deadline for baseball draft picks is typically the middle of August, and most of the top picks wait until the deadline before signing. Classes have typically started at any university by then, and preseason football practice has been underway for some time. The first football game is probably less than a month away. Any incoming freshman who has held off on his commitment until this point is probably not going to play in his freshman year, especially if he’s a quarterback (like Mauer, Crawford and Starling). He is probably looking at being redshirted, because the other members of his class will have been working out with the team since May or June and will probably be way ahead in conditioning and development.

    The threats to play college football made by Mauer, Crawford, and Starling were nothing more than a bluff, a ploy to wrestle a few more hundred-thousand dollars. There is no way on God’s green earth they would have chosen to be red-shirted at Florida State or Nebraska and leave millions of dollars on the table. And the Mauers, Crawfords, and Starlings of the future will still be offered millions to sign if they are drafted in the first round under the new CBA. Very few if any 18-year-old kids will turn down that kind of money and choose college football instead. And this is true particularly because of the high risk of injury involved with playing football.

    The new CBA has spurned a bunch of Cassandras.

    Comment by Greg — November 23, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  11. I don’t buy that all those guys were bluffing. Just because the draft/signing period is after other dates in which perfunctory actions must be made in order to play football (sign LOI, enroll, etc.) doesn’t mean that these guys can’t (and frequently do) forgo football even after all these steps.

    Also, college football coaches know that these guys are not going to enroll in the summer before a final decision could be made. They know guys like Starling will not be joining the team until after the signing deadline. They recruit them will full expectation of this. So, a two-sport athlete not enrolling in the summer is not a sign of his unwillingness to play football. everyone understand it to be the prudent path until a final decision is made.

    As for not turning down millions, you are probably correct. But what about guys taken after the 1st round (e.g. Crawford-2nd round; Sizemore-3rd round)? Are they going to turn down playing college football and baseball for a few hundred thousand dollars?

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — November 23, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

  12. When all voting parties win, a non voting party must lose.

    Comment by LIz Phair — November 23, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  13. Frenchy always does well in contract dealings because his crazy eyes lock in on the other negotiator and hypnotize him.

    Comment by Juancho — November 24, 2011 @ 4:26 am

  14. According to Jayson Stark’s summary of the CBA at http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7270203/baseball-new-labor-deal-truly-historic-one , Bubba Starling and Jeff Franceour’s bonuses would *not* have been part of the hard limit on bonuses, because the agreement allows exceptions for players with commitments to other sports.

    I’m not saying this undermines your point in general, but it seems to invalidate your choice of examples.

    Comment by voxpoptart — November 24, 2011 @ 7:31 am

  15. I also disagree that the new system is not in the long term interests of the MLBPA for a different reason. The new system makes draft picks and international signings even more cost controlled and cheaper. Shouldn’t this push teams to focus on player development since its so cheap and gives you cost controlled major leaguers in lieu of spending big money on free agents, pushing down the price teams are willing to pay per win? I suppose this would be offset by the increase in minimum salary, but it still seems short sighted and broken…

    Comment by Bj — November 24, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

  16. i understand all the problems with the new CBA, but really i’m just happy there’s gonna be baseball.

    Comment by jts5 — November 24, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

  17. It’s not that atypical to shorten the window. Just off the top of my head, Donavan Tate (definitely) and Archie Bradley (I’m pretty sure) had their bonuses spread over three years.

    Comment by david — November 25, 2011 @ 9:14 am

  18. Francoeur = Tebow

    Comment by Dwezilwoffa — November 26, 2011 @ 12:07 am

  19. except that Frenchy isn’t constantly going (by words or otherwise) “PRAISE JESUS!!!!”

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — November 26, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  20. “The new CBA has spurned a bunch of Cassandras.”

    You do know that the deal with Cassandra was, she was always right and nobody believed her. And I don’t think ‘spurned’ was the word you wanted, but I can’t figure out from the context what you thought you were saying.

    Comment by Curtis — November 27, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  21. “Will McDonald pointed out at the time what is apparent after reading the August article: Francoeur’s request could just as easily be interpreted as an indication of unenlightened self-interest.”

    I prefer the “veteran leadership” interpretation. The guys currently on the team should be on the wall. Others might think that Elijer and Bubba and Cheslor deserve framed photos on the wall at the K. Opinions will vary.

    Comment by jim fetterolf — November 27, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  22. Well for a long time at the K, all the fans have been sold is hope for the future. Until this last season, when the product on the field finally resembled a major league team, the only time I had been excited to see a game has been one of their prospects debut. The first 5 games I happened to attend in 09 or 2010, to lazy to recall, I paid to see Sidney Ponson get shelled each time. Should have picked my games better.

    Comment by Dwezilwoffa — November 27, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  23. I think really the football/baseball issue is overblown.

    First, the sport in question football, in my opinion really is never going to be the better option for a legit baseball prospect.

    The average career of an NFL player (these are players that actually make it) is only 3.3 years. The average salary is only 700,000 a year. Even “talent” positions such as RB and WR average LESS than 3 years in total career length. QB’s average 4.4 years while Kickers obvious have the highest average career.

    Any kid would/should be extremely happy to sign a contract for a couple million dollars that puts them straight into the pros in the MLB where the average career is 5.6 years and the average salary is 3 million dollars a year.

    Now just taking averages is of course not the whole story, but it still gives the rough idea pretty accurately.

    There really should almost never be a threat of the MLB losing quality players to other sports, particularly football (basketball really does not apply when you consider the type of athletes the two sports look for, soccer does not apply because the US development system is horrible and nobody from this country will ever be on Messi’s paygrade, hockey could be a reasonable two sport option but is really only played heavily in the northern states while baseball prospects overwhelmingly are located more in the south due to year round play)

    Comment by Colin — November 27, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  24. You point is ridiculous on a couple of fronts.

    1. There is a gigantic difference between what makes an athlete good at football and what makes one good at soccer. So much so that I doubt one with professional aspirations at the NFL level could even play professionally at a level that would compensate comparatively to the NFL.

    2. US soccer development is garbage. There are probably a handful of US players in Europe right now making what a decent NFL player makes.

    3. NFL athletes and NBA athletes might even have more differences than the NFL and soccer. Not comparable, you never see it because players almost always never good enough at both sports to have a legitimate choice.

    Comment by Colin — November 27, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  25. Committment to another sport? What does that mean? If a talented baseball player also gets a committment to play on the college ping-pong team, then he can sign an unlimited bonus?

    Comment by Urban — November 27, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

  26. I’m not sure why anyone thought the players’ union would even oppose hard slotting. I can see them pretending to oppose it knowing the MLB wants it so they can then get a concession in an area they do care about.

    Overall, it’s not to their advantage. If $20 million gets spent on the draft, then they probably believe that’s $20 million less spent on MLB players. Every dollar they can reduce in the draft could very well go toward their players.

    More so, if teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can no longer supplement their high-priced players with cheaper home-grown players that are now harder to find, then they might spend even more money on MLB free agents, driving salaries up further.

    MLB players gain more from the spending caps on amateurs than do the owners.

    Comment by Urban — November 27, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

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