This week, Major League Baseball and its players' union came to terms on a series of spending cuts considered necessary to make up for lost revenue caused by postponements and inevitable cancellations of official league activities due to the coronavirus outbreak. Included on this list of items? Limiting the extent to which the 2020 MLB Draft can be shortened, but reducing financial guarantees for many potential draftees.
But that's not the only draft-related topic that should catch the eyes of baseball fans. Believe it or not, if the 2020 regular season ends up including fewer than 81 games per team, "the draft order for the 2021 draft can be determined by the commissioner’s office with consultation with the MLBPA," notes JJ Cooper of Baseball America.
The idea that Commissioner Rob Manfred, who refused to punish any Houston Astros players in the fallout of their wide-ranging, massively damning cheating scandal, could play any role in picking the order in which teams draft the next wave of rising talent feels patently absurd. That he could potentially do so "with consultation with the MLBPA" shouldn't lighten our moods one bit, because if you've ever looked around for a minute, the players don't have much power in baseball.
If you need examples, let me direct you straight to service time manipulation, the absurd need for salary arbitration, and the outrageously long wait before even some of the very best players in the game hit free agency.
If this sounds certifiably batty, that's because it is. Let's all hope for the sake of the game that the 2020 season isn't limited to less than 50% of its typically allotted games.