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In another one of their attempts to save cash in the short term, MLB has announced that they will postpone the opening of the window to sign international free agents from July 2, 2020 to January 15, 2021.
MLB and MLBPA agreed to give MLB the option of delaying the signing of international players in the agreement they reached back in March and MLB pulled the trigger, according to Baseball America. While draft bonuses are going to be mostly deferred (with $100,000 payable upon signing and the rest divided between 2021 and 2020), signing bonuses to international free agents have no agreement to defer, meaning that unless teams arrange things with individual players, they’ll have to pay all of the money up front, something teams are trying to avoid without having any money coming in.
The players who are eligible to sign won’t change, meaning that players who are 16 as of August 31, 2020 will make up the draft pool but it also appears that the next signing deadline (which would have been July 2, 2021) will be moved back to January of 2022.
In addition, the previous signing period (2019-2020) was supposed to close on June 15 but that was extended until October 15, so those teams can still sign players until the 2019-2020 period until then (once the league lifts its transaction freeze). After October 15, there will be a three-month period in which no signings are permitted.
While this move helps the teams move some of the operating costs to the 2021 year, it will probably hurt some of these players. While those who have agreements in place already will still sign, they’re losing a good six months of development time with the professional teams. These players may not get the same opportunities to play and develop because once players have agreements with teams in place, they generally stop working out publicly.
What do you think of this maneuver by MLB?
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