Just when you think you've seen it all when it comes to everything going on with Major League Baseball, there's something new.
Lost in all the ridiculousness that is the ongoing negotiations between the MLBPA and owners is the fact that tomorrow is the MLB Draft. That's right, while there has not been a pitch thrown in an MLB game this season, there will be a 2020 MLB Draft — albeit modified from 40 rounds all the way down to five — tomorrow night.
And apparently, there is one team who is just trying to circumvent the Draft altogether and just pack it up and get ready for next year. Baseball and hockey are the only sports where a team could do something like this, because they're the only sports where kids can get drafted out of high school. But something like this involves all sorts of weird MLB Draft rules that even someone like me, who loves college baseball and follows the Draft, still doesn't understand.
At its core, though, it's pretty simple. You draft a kid committed to Vanderbilt or Florida that you know is unlikely to sign, offer them a sum of money that ensures they won't sign and then you can say you tried and get a compensatory pick right in the same range next year. In any normal year, this would be a pretty ridiculous plan, given you'd just be voluntarily giving up a first round pick. But in a year where there will still be plenty of potential Major League talent available after the Draft — every undrafted player after the five rounds can sign for $20,000 — it might actually be beneficial to just pack it in, get two first rounders next year and try to hit on your undrafted free agents.
Regardless of the merits of the plan — if it even comes to fruition — it's yet another bad look for Major League Baseball right now, which is already bleeding to death. And this could have been the most-watched MLB Draft ever, given that it is on ESPN this year and is not going up against actual MLB games, like it normally would be. But given the current state of things, I have a hard time imagining too many people are going to want to watch now.
And the team is definitely the Miami Marlins.