International Free Agency

What if there was a draft for international players? Wouldn’t it just be something like 5 rounds? Would it be affective? Is it really fair?

Recently, MLB owners and the commissioner’s office have been discussing the idea of a draft for international free agents. I think this idea is horrible. I have two solutions:

1. Include international free agents in the first year player draft in June.

Why not? I mean honestly there aren’t hundreds of international players coming over during a five year span. As a result, wouldn’t a draft solely devoted to international free agents be only one or two rounds every couple years?

By including the international free agents in the first year player draft, all the international free agents are automatically available to all MLB teams whether they are rich or poor. Imagine Yu Darvish being drafted by the Astros. Not only would that help the Astros pitching staff, but it would help the MLB as a whole. Instead of Darvish being one of three aces on the Red Sox pitching staff, he would be the ace in Houston and would bring excitement to recently dull franchise.

2. Keep it the way it is, but eliminate players that are posted.

What I mean by this is that international free agents can only come over to the MLB if they are free agents in their international leagues. No more posting by their teams in Japan or in the Dominican. If you want to play in the MLB and you are an international player, wait until your contract is up. Nothing is being accomplished in baseball if teams are paying $30MM dollars to negotiate a 3 year $30MM dollar deal with a player from Japan.

By eliminating the whole posting issue, it also opens up the possibility of more teams being able to sign the international players. The fact that Yu Darvish’s team in Japan is demanding a bid north of $40MM dollars eliminates half the teams in the MLB from being able to sign him. Teams like the Orioles could maybe sign Darvish to a $40MM dollar deal, however, in the process, they would have to spend $40MM just to negotiate that contract with him.

If the MLB were to eliminate the bidding process, not only would it open up more MLB teams to the negotiating process, but it would also keep more money in the accounts of Major League teams.

International free agency will always be a big issue in the MLB because without it, baseball would die. Without International free agency, there would be no World Baseball Classic. Without International free agency, the Yankees wouldn’t have spent $26MM dollars to negotiate a $20MM dollar deal with the Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa who is known as one of the best International MINOR LEAGUE pitchers in the last 10 years.


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