New CBA Hurts Mariners In Big Way
Over the past 10 years, the Mariners have had one major competitive advantage over almost every other team in baseball – their international scouting department. Led by Bob Engle, the group has covered the globe looking for young talent, and created a pipeline of prospects that have fed into the system on an annual basis. The Mariners are consistently one of the most aggressive teams in pursuing top amateur talent from other countries, and they’ve invested heavily in international infrastructure that allows them to reap the rewards of signing quality young players.
Well, the new CBA just eliminated most of those advantages. According to Jeff Passan, each Major League team will now be allowed to spend $2.9 million total on international free agents next year – less than what many top prospects have been signing for by themselves – and then in future years, a team’s total international budget will be determined based on their Major League win-loss record. If the organization begins to win at the Major League level, they’ll have even less to spend on international talent going forward.
Major League Baseball essentially just eliminated the value of international scouting. By drastically depressing bonuses and taking away teams ability to invest in amateur talent, the most talented players are now simply going to be weighing similar offers from every team.
This is an absolutely awful decision by Major League Baseball, as they’ve decided to prioritize the lowering of total costs over the ability for teams to compete through different player acquisition strategies. The Mariners just lost one of their best assets, and now are going to have to come up with some way to offset their loss of a low-cost talent pipeline established through years of hard work.
Congratulations, MLB, you just screwed over teams who had worked extremely hard to find alternate ways to win beyond “spend on free agents”. The new rules are so awful that the only way they would make any sense was if they were written by a Steinbrenner.