With the uncertainty of the coronavirus shutdowns still looming over us, it looks like we may lose another baseball-related event. The Rule-4 amateur draft typically takes place in the beginning of June, after the conclusion of the now-cancelled high school and college seasons.
There are now several blue-checkmark accounts on twitter reporting that league sources say a cancellation of the draft is possible, if not even likely.
MLB may skip this year's amateur draft, sources tell the Associated Press.https://t.co/Au5v5G4IfK— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 19, 2020
AP sources: MLB could skip draft to preserve cash; service time a big issue in talks with union. https://t.co/SB3wI6VQgz— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) March 19, 2020
One factor appears to be cost-saving, as the teams have each committed a million dollars to paying game day employees, and are not receiving much revenue during the shutdown. While its hard to feel bad for the billionaire team owners when many of us are in dire straights ourselves, the league did have a combined $266 million draft pool for 2019, and 2020 would likely have been higher. That is a LOT of cash to save, almost nine million per team, so it is certainly a logical move from that perspective. Teams have also been banned from all scouting activities, and the fact that the amateur leagues were cancelled, both lead to teams being historically unprepared for the draft.
The NCAA has already announced another year of eligibility for spring sport seniors impacted by this shut down, so the college senior-signs that often help keep pool dollars down won’t likely be available. The real losers here are the high school seniors who would have been drafted, as their options will be three years of college, or a year of suspense before the next MLB draft. There really isn’t a good option for those kids, if the draft does get cancelled.
I’m sure there will be more on the topic coming out today, so we will keep you updated as we hear things.