Viva el QO?

You may recall that, when the lockout ended with the signing of the new MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, there remained a loose end.

MLB has wanted a draft for international players for decades. The MLBPA has resisted it just as long. MLB wants it for cost containment, and the MLBPA (of course) wants players to get as much money as possible. MLB made the international draft a major point for this CBA and tried to entice the players with an offer to ditch the qualifying offer system if they agreed to a draft.

The Qualifying Offer for free agents (QO), as a reminder, works as follows: each year MLB sets a dollar amount for a one year contract for teams to offer pending free agents if they choose. If the player rejects the deal, as most commonly occurs, and he signs with another team, the signing team loses a draft pick and the former team gains one. The loss of a pick has often kept teams from signing QO free agents that weren’t obvious superstars. The players hate it and wanted it gone. That plus David Ortiz stating a draft could be doable led to the players agreeing to consider the international draft. The owners and players agreed to continue negotiating that—the idea of an international draft tied to ending the QO—while signing on otherwise complete CBA and resuming play. A deadline was set, after which no agreement meant no international draft and the continuance of the QO for the next 5 years.

Well, that deadline was Monday and no deal. The two sides never got closer than $69M. Each side, when they made counteroffers, budged only a little and never enough to make real headway…just as they had during the vast majority of the lockout. Nobody learned a thing.

So…for the next 5 years I am not interested in owners’ desire to implement an international draft, and I am equally disinterested in players’ complaining about QOs. They could have had what they wanted, both of them, if the could play nice.

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