Last week it was revealed that the Phillies reported Oregon State pitcher Ben Wetzler to the NCAA for using an agent in negotiations with the Phillies after being drafted last summer. Wetzler was suspended for 20 percent of his senior year as a result. The Phillies have received considerable backlash from the report, as reporting the use of agents by amateurs is highly irregular among major league teams.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the MLBPA is looking into the matter. Quotes from union president Tony Clark:
“The interest is the same we would have in the draft in general,” Clark said. “These guys are connected to our institution. We have some input to the rules and the dynamics (of the draft) and that’s why anything related to it we have a concern about it or a commitment to pay attention to it.
“To that extent, we are gathering information as we speak. Yes, we are concerned. Based on what we find out will determine what, if anything, lends itself to further discussion, but we are concerned enough to be inquiring.”
I’m glad someone is inquiring, though it remains to be seen what if anything the union could do about it. Yes, they have input on the draft. But they have also routinely sold out players subject to the draft in exchange for furthering the interests of major leaguers. That’s why there’s slotting now. If the MLBPA truly advocated for draftees, they would have never agreed to that.
The real danger here is teams using threats of reporting players to the NCAA in order to coerce them to sign on unfavorable terms. That’s something Major League Baseball should be looking into, not just the MLBPA.