MLB willing to give up “significant concessions” to get a worldwide draft

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Buster Olney adds some info to the news we heard yesterday about the league and the union’s negotiations to institute an international draft:

I still don’t get this. Teams simply don’t spend that much on international free agent signings. They do spend a lot in arbitration and all teams have lots of players making the minimum or thereabouts. It doesn’t seem like giving away things like that make financial sense when compared to the relative small dollars given to guys on the international market.

Meanwhile, the players have, historically, liked to see more guys subject to the draft and have always been willing to negotiate away the rights of others like this. So why do they need big giveaways? I know why they’d want them, but MLB can’t think it has to give away that much, can it?

Can someone tell me what’s going on here? Why, apart from being anti-free agency, politically speaking, are the owners so focused on this? Why, apart from being pro-draft for others, politically speaking, are the players so into it too?

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.