Drew Smyly of the Tampa Bay Rays was not happy about Yoan Moncada and the signing bonus he received from the Red Sox yesterday. Because Moncada is from Cuba, different rules apply to his draft status. If Moncada were an American, he would have to enter the draft and negotiate a capped bonus with the team that drafted him. .
Moncada, instead, was a free agent amateur and signed yesterday with the highest bidder, the Red Sox, for just over $31 million dollars.
Smyly has a point, why should Moncada get to circumvent the system because he is not from the United States?
There has been a push for one worldwide draft which would solve this problem. Keith Law, for one, is not in favor of that. As Law explains on Twitter, he is opposed to anything that artificially caps signing bonuses and transfers wealth from players to owners.
What is the solution? Before there ever was a draft, all amateurs were free agents and could sign with any team they liked, usually the highest bidder. This is how the Yankees became so dominant. The Yankees would become dominant again if we went back to this system. That might not be so bad for baseball but it would be awful for the competitive balance of the league.
Is the solution to have no cap on signing bonuses with drafted players? While this is great for the player this leads to lower budget teams passing on the guys they really want to draft because they would not be able to sign them. This once again would alter the competitive balance of the league. There is a reason the Yankee farm system is a mess. Their resource advantage doesn't help them get the best players in their system.
It is not an easy problem to solve. Here are the tweets from Smyly and some of Keith Law's twitter interactions.
Drew Smyly did respond to one person who felt Smyly was complaining too much and Smyly does drive home a great point. You really have to prove yourself in baseball before you get paid. There are no "Ryan Leafs" or "Jamarcus Russells" in MLB.
There are plenty of top picks that didn't pan out, There are plenty of top picks who received a nice bonus who didn't pan out. However, nothing like you see in the NFL with the $20 and $30 million bonuses.
You are under club control for three years until you reach arbitration. You don't become a free agent until after your sixth season. You can't fake it in baseball. This often leads to guys getting overpaid when they are washed up but that makes sense since many of them were underpaid when they were reaching their prime. I like the baseball system as a fan for that reason. The guys who get the big pay day really had to earn it. Yoan Moncada just took home $30 million and has yet to prove a thing. I can see Drew Smyly's point.
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