How draft slotting works
This topic came up a lot during the draft, so I wanted to point people to the latest Baseball America, which has a great article by Jerry Crasnick (“Slot System Tests Teams’ Creativity,” subscription required). I wish they’d make it free because it’s the best single piece I’ve seen on how MLB is forcing draft slotting, why it’s good and why it sucks, and how some teams are losing players over it and others are taking advantage. It’s a really good piece of work.
I don’t want to quote it too much – if you’re at all interested in this, find an issue at your local newsstand – but it’s got stuff like this
“In the big picture, everybody in baseball is on the same page,” the AL official says. “But this has created a division between the teams who will toe the line–the ones that (commissioner Bud) Selig and the commissioner’s office have influence over–and the clubs who don’t give a crap. They’ll take the best players and give them the money. There’s an advantage there, isn’t there?
Essentially, as the article outlines, it works like this:
- scouting director wants to pay a kid over slot
- he calls MLB, which now handles the offers, and says “give the kid this offer”
- MLB balks, gives him a hard time
- MLB calls the owner, gives him a hard time
- (optional) Selig calls the owner and/or other people, give them a hard time
- if the team insists, the player gets the new offer, and the team gets fined for exceeding the slot
The article doesn’t really speak to what happens to teams that ignore slotting, but it does hint at it:
“We have the choice to go over slot, but that’s like telling a high school kid, ‘You have the choice to break curfew,’ ” an NL talent evaluator says. “Sure you do. But you also know there’s going to be some kind of consequence.”
Anyway, go check it out, and remember it when you think of Andrew Miller.