Major League Baseball will consider holding an amateur player combine in order to better determine players' health in advance of drafting them, Yahoo Sports reported Friday.
While the specific design of such a combine is unclear and already being hotly contested between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the discussions are slated to be part of the league's upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, according to the report.
From the report:
"Exactly how it would look stirs wide debate and will be a heated point in negotiations, which are expected to begin in earnest toward the end of this year with eyes on a new CBA before the current one expires on December 1, 2016.
One source outlined a scenario in which a pre-determined number of elite players – perhaps the best 150 as determined by the MLB Scouting Bureau – undergo MRIs and take other tests before being deemed healthy by a league- and union-approved panel of physicians running a certification system.
Others envision a wide-ranging combine that could include physical tests such as the 60-yard dash, radar-tested throwing speed and, for pitchers, bullpen sessions, along with MRI results that get distributed to every team."
An underlying motivation for officials on both sides could be avoiding a situation similar to the one underwent by 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick Brady Aiken.
Aiken was drafted by the Houston Astros but quickly ran into stumbling blocks when it came to signing with the team, who expressed concerns after doctors found an irregularity him in his ulnar collateral ligament.
He ended up not reaching an agreement with Houston, and the players' union filed a grievance against the Astros for trying to manipulate Aiken's signing.
Aiken then enrolled in an offseason academy to work out and prepare for the 2015 draft. On Thursday, Aiken surprised many by announcing he had already underwent Tommy John surgery, which is likely to hurt his draft stock in 2015.
- Will Green