With the orchestration of an abbreviated amateur draft—alongside a potential favorable response from the Major League Baseball Players Association—Wednesday could mark the day of an important time in baseball, if everything falls into place nicely.
For those who haven’t been keeping up on the details of the draft, this year’s version will be virtual, meaning no physical participation from the teams or draftees. The event will also be shortened to five rounds, mainly in an effort to ease the budgets of MLB ownership.
The first round, in addition to the competitive balance round, will be televised beginning at 7:00 p.m., Eastern time, on MLB Network on Wednesday. Those rounds combined will total 37 picks.
The remaining 123 selections will be shown on Thursday, beginning at 5:00 p.m., Eastern time. This will also be broadcast on MLB Network.
As far as rule changes go, the deadline for draftees to sign is August 1, not July 10 as with previous years. Signed players can receive a maximum of $100,000 in 2020, with the remainder of their bonus to be paid out over the following two seasons.
Undrafted players who sign after the draft can earn a maximum of $20,000 in 2020 instead of $125,000, which was the case in previous years. A team can sign an unlimited number of players not selected in the draft, but the team may not communicate with those players until 9:00 a.m. on June 14.
With regards to the Dodgers, the team is set up with six picks over the five rounds. The club’s first selection will be the 29th pick of the opening round.
In addition to their regular picks, Los Angeles also has a pick in Competitive Balance Round B (No. 66 overall), received from the Twins in the deal that sent Kenta Maeda to Minnesota and brought Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers.
Concerning a potential economic agreement, ownership and the union have been negotiating for nearly a month regarding a prospective plan for the 2020 season. At times, discussions have been worlds apart, as the two sides are struggling to come to terms with player compensation. Negotiations originally began May 12, two months after the league went on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league made its latest proposal on Monday—a 76-game season in which players would take another pay cut from what was proposed originally. While the players seem set on receiving prorated salaries, there still might be a chance that progress is made towards an agreement. Initially, a target of July 4 weekend was envisioned to be the beginning of an official season.
Furthermore, there are some notable components of various proposals that the two sides appear likely to agree on for a 2020 season. Among those components are extensive health and safety protocols for players and team personnel, larger rosters (possibly up to 30 players), a universal designated hitter, and expanded playoffs.
Stay tuned for a summary of the Dodgers’ opening day draft action on Wednesday evening, as well as any other league-related news as it develops.