Forget about this offseason alone -- the entire past year has been a case study in bad PR for Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. When reports of the Houston Astros' sign stealing broke, many assumed that Manfred would suspend individual players found to be involved in order to deter future wrongdoing as strongly as possible. Months later, the entire upcoming season was suspended before a single player. And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting baseball on hold, he looks ready to screw up again.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Major League Baseball could skip the 2020 draft. With games being postponed indefinitely, the league seems worried about turning a profit, but the implications stretch far beyond the MLB's bottom line.
Draft prospects need money, too, and they aren't multi-millionaires like Rob Manfred. These young athletes, who will come to directly create the product that Major League Baseball puts out, could effectively be forced to put aside as much as an entire year of their wage-earning lives if no MLB Draft contingency plan can be put in place. Sure, signing and paying players who won't be playing ball is not ideal from a business standpoint, but leaving them out in the cold is shameful.
On a logistical note, this puts college baseball in an impossible situation. The NCAA recently announced that they would grant additional eligibility to athletes whose spring seasons were cut short. Without the MLB Draft, far more college baseball players would return to school than otherwise, making competition for scholarships and roster spots all the more cutthroat.
At the end of the day, this kind of move serves no one but the billionaires that own Major League Baseball franchises, and Rob Manfred works for them. It's just another example of his egregious mismanagement.