With a deadline looming, MLB on Sunday submitted what was billed as a final offer regarding an international draft, sources told ESPN.
The league increased the amount of money that would be guaranteed to the top 600 international players by $10 million, going from $181 million to $191 million, sources said. But the two sides remain very far apart, and the prospect of a deal seems unlikely.
It is unclear whether the MLB Players Association would submit another counter Monday, or whether the union would take MLB’s latest offer seriously enough to submit it to a vote among its player leadership.
MLB had remained at $181 million dating back to its proposal in March, when the collective bargaining agreement was ratified and both sides agreed to table a decision on an international draft until July 25. The MLBPA’s first counter on July 8 asked for at least $260 million. The MLBPA remained there during its last counter Saturday, a reaction, in part, to MLB not budging on $181 million a week earlier.
If the international draft is agreed to, the qualifying-offer system — whereby teams lose draft picks as compensation for signing certain mid- to upper-tier free agents every offseason — would be dissolved. If no agreement is reached, the current qualifying-offer system and international market would remain as is, the latter of which is a concern throughout the industry because of widespread corruption.
MLB and the MLBPA also disagree on how the slots would work (MLB is adamant on hard slots, while the MLBPA previously proposed that the slots act as minimums) and the maximum that can be paid to undrafted free agents (MLBPA wants $40,000, MLB remains at $20,000). The MLBPA is also dissatisfied that the league didn’t agree on a proposal that would increase bonus pools if the number of international signings drops, among other things.
Both sides could theoretically agree on an extension, but that seems unlikely as of Sunday night.