Why haven’t MLB and players agreed on an international draft? Money, mistrust and more

Major League Baseball and the players have disagreed over the implementation of an international draft. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

In two weeks, Dodger Stadium, after 42 years, will finally host the MLB All-Star Game again. Stars will descend. Celebrities will surface. Major League Baseball will cash checks.

Just a few months ago, reaching the glitzy checkpoint was a pipe dream. Remember that? When the owners and MLB Players Assn.

nearly didn’t come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement to avoid shortening the season?

The two sides ended the drama when they reached a deal March 10. But one piece remained unsolved, kicked down the road for future headaches.

The union has until July 25 to decide whether to agree to allow MLB to implement an international draft in exchange for removing draft-pick compensation. The union wants neither.

It resents having draft-pick compensation tied to free agents because it has proven to limit their earning power

And it has held steady for years on holding off the international draft for several reasons, including the fear of further restricting compensation and players losing the freedom to pick their team.

That could change this time around. More than 15 executives, agents and players with experience in the Latin American amateur baseball scene were interviewed for this story. Some want the international draft

Others don’t. All agreed the current system is a mess needing significant changes. MLB contends an international draft would mitigate the problems plaguing the market

particularly in the Dominican Republic, ranging from illicit early agreements between teams and 13-year-old boys to performance-enhancing drug use to unbridled corruption, while admitting it doesn’t effectively police the current system.

The San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. argues the international baseball draft would kill player development in his home country. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

Prominent players — current and former — have expressed both caution and support. David Ortiz, a Hall of Famer from the Dominican Republic, said he’s open to the idea but worried about the implementation

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr., a Dominican, said the draft would “kill” baseball in his country because he believes a draft would produce fewer opportunities for players.

In March, New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, a member of the union’s eight-player executive subcommittee during CBA negotiations, tweeted that the “international draft is about dividing players.”

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