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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?

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.