BOB: Draft changes rundown

MLB teams will test new draft pool rules

This week is (or was, depending on when you read this) the first year player’s draft, and this year things are going to be a bit more interesting because of some of the rules that are now in place because of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Think of this as a luxury tax on draft signings.

Teams are given a pool of money to sign their players, and if they go over that amount, they have to either give up more money (that goes to the teams that kept their signings below the limit) or even future draft picks. Next year we will see the new free agent signing compensation rules go into play, but this year on that front it’s business as usual.

How much money you get for your pool depends on where you’re at in the draft and how many draft picks you have in the top ten rounds. You can see how the pools shake out in that solid column by Jonathon Mayo linked above, but it pretty much goes in the order you pick. The Houston Astros are given $1 million per draft pick while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are given just $206,000 per pick. The Minnesota Twins have the overall biggest pool because they have two more picks than the Astros.

It will be interesting to see how teams go about their drafts under the new rules. Teams with the fewer dollars obviously have more constraints, but the teams at the top might be able to let slide a questionable player who might have a high dollar demand knowing he’ll be back because some of the teams with less money won’t be able to afford that player unless they go over their slot. Teams also have a shorter window of time to sign their players. Before, the signing dealine was August 15, but this year it is July 13.

Bill Maher buys share of New York Mets

HBO comedian Bill Maher said that he bought a minority stake in the New York Mets. It’s not clear whether he bought a full $20 million stake, but apparently the terms of the deal include Maher getting his money back in six years with a three-percent interest rate.

I must have missed this and can’t find anything on it, but this looks to be part of the $240 million multi-member sale that hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen—who was supposed to be the only new minority stakeholder for that price in a deal that fell through last year—was involved in.

Dodgers ownership fallout

The Los Angeles Dodgers keep giving me things to write about. The latest is that the Dodgers are being investigated for possible criminal misconduct during the McCourts’ ownership of the team. Documents have been requested from both the McCourts and MLB, and the investigation began last year. It looks like the focus is on tax issues and improprieties in spending the team’s funds.

Right now, we’re working with conjecture because this story was leaked. None of the parties involved—the McCourts, MLB or the Justice Department—is confirming or denying the investigation, so we’ll see if this gets legs or if something happens and we never hear about it again, which in this day and age is difficult.

The other piece of Dodgers news deals with the ballpark. The new owners are looking to spend $100 million on renovating Dodgers Stadium, and some of that work will be starting soon. The team also is looking to ramp up its corporate sponsorships to give its revenue a bump, and they already have a few irons in the fire.

Charlotte Knights closer to new ballpark

A majority of the Charlotte City Council appears to be ready to vote on $8 million in subsidies so the Triple-A Charlotte Knights can build a new ballpark. The vote doesn’t go down until June 11, but the current deal on the table took out a $2.5 million property tax rebate that had been considered. Instead, the city is going to add more hotel/motel tax revenues to help shore up the difference. The Knights originally wanted $11 million from the city, and they’re getting $8 million from Mecklenburg County in addition to land valued around $20 million.

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The McCourt saga is just amazing.  To think that he could do what he did, some of it maybe even criminal, and still sell the team for $2B is mind blowing.


The McCourt saga also suggests that MLB may have flunked their due diligence in allowing McCourt to purchase the Dodgers in the first place.  MLB is not a publicly held corporation, so they have fewer obligations than otherwise, but at the very least they have some duty to prevent fraud upon governmental entities.  I wonder if this is an issue in the alleged investigation?