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MLB to defer draft bonuses on its already-shortened draft

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Major League Baseball took a lot of heat for cutting the draft down from 40 to five rounds. Now they’re going to take even more heat for what they’re doing with bonuses.

The league released its bonus pool/draft slot recommendations today. The bonuses are the same as they were from 2019: the first pick is slotted at $8,415,300. The last pick — the 160th overall — is $324,100. The kicker: the bonuses will be deferred. According to Ken Rosenthal, teams will pay drafted players maximum of $100,000 in 2020, with 50 percent of the remainder coming on July 1, 2021 and the other 50 percent on July 1, 2022.

Major League Baseball is, basically, taking an a loan from drafted amateurs.

As previously reported, the draft will take place, remotely, on June 10-11. With supplemental picks, there will be 160 players taken. The hundreds of players who would normally be drafted after the first five rounds can be signed as free agents then, but their bonuses will be capped at $20,000. Teams will be able to sign an unlimited number of players  be permitted to sign passed-over players for a maximum of $20K starting 9 a.m. on June 14.

Which is to say that If you’re the 161st-best player in this year’s amateur class, you can get a maximum of a $20,000 bonus. As I wrote in my This Day in History post earlier this week, in 1958 Mickey Lolich — a good, but not highly touted amateur, coming from an area that was not a baseball hotbed — signed for a $30,000 bonus.

But it’s not like there has been inflation or anything in the past 62 years, right?

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.