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Thursday, October 23, 2014

College baseball should benefit from new CBA

COLUMN: It appears Major League Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement could have a positive influence on the college game.

On Tuesday it was announced that a large portion of the five-year deal involves the MLB Draft, which, in turn, could impact the Ole Miss Rebels and the rest of the college baseball world.

During the last two summers Ole Miss has been more aggressive on the recruiting trail, seeking the signatures of more players that are also on the radar of Major League clubs.

Last year players like Michael Reed, Sikes Orvis and Senquez Golson were high selections and had to make a choice.

This summer, Ole Miss signees Stryker Trahan (catcher; Destrehan, La.), Gavin Cecchini (infielder; Lake Charles, La.) and Ty Hensley (pitcher; Edmond, Okla.) are all ranked amongst the top 50 prep prospects by Baseball America.

While it’s obvious to see the benefit of targeting such players, it also meant the coaching staff had more to worry about during the summer months between the draft and the Aug.15 signing deadline.

Last spring it was reported that a hard slotting system could find its way into the upcoming CBA.

While that didn’t happen, the next best thing did.

In the new CBA, Major League Baseball will set an aggregate signing bonus pool for each of its teams depending on their position in the draft and how many picks they have that will coincide with what was previously called “slot recommendations.”

The budget, which according to BizofBaseball.com will range from $4.5 million-$11.5 million, will only affect the first 10 rounds.

Any players selected after the first 10 rounds can be signed for up to $100,000 without counting against the budget (any amount over $100,000 would count against the pool).

Teams that go over their budget will be penalized as follows:

•0-5 percent equates to 75 percent tax on overage

•5-10 percent equates to 75 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick

•10-15 percent equates to 100 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks

•More than 15 percent equates to 100 percent tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts

It appears that while the elite of the elite (see: Washington Nationals draft pick Bryce Harper) will still get their money, clubs will have to make a decision as to how much they really want to offer Joe Slugger from Mudville. If clubs load up on a couple prep prospects, they won’t have nearly enough money available to sign the remaining 40-something draft picks without being penalized.

Will players like Cecchini and Trahan still make Ole Miss’ coaches sweat because of their potential draft slot?

Of course, but the possible payoff to recruiting those players is now much more realistic, not to mention good prospects like infielder Chase Nyman (Pascagoula), who will be drafted high but not at the very top of the draft, are more likely to make it to campus.

Extra bases
All players who sign will ink minor league contracts. No major league contracts will be made available… The top 200 prospects will be subject to a predraft drug test… The signing deadline will be moved up from Aug. 15 to a date between July 12-18 depending on the date of the All-Star Game. (November 23, 2011, Page 6A)

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