Commissioner Rob Manfred favors international draft

Wednesday March 18th, 2015

Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is in favor of an international draft to level the playing field for small market teams, Paul Hoynes of reports.

Under the current setup, only players from the United States and Canada are eligible for the first-year draft each June. There are strict limitations on the contract and signing bonuses of players that go through the draft process.

The process for signing international players, however, results in much higher contracts and bonuses. Teams are given an allotted amount of money to spend on international players and are taxed if they go beyond the amount.

• Scott Boras rips Cubs for plan to start Kris Bryant in Triple-A

Recently, the Red Sox signed Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada to a contract that included a record $31.5 million signing bonus. Since the United States government announced new steps to improve its relationship with Cuba last year, Manfred said an international draft will be an important step for baseball.

"With the relaxation that's taken place with respect of Cuban players it has put a stress test on that international system," said Manfred. "Frankly, it's proved wanting. I am of the view that at some point, for the good of the game, for the good of competitive balance, we are going to have an international draft."

In February, Rays pitcher Drew Smyly criticized the international signing rules, citing the higher payments to Cuban players as unfair.

• Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler has torn ligament in elbow

- Paul Palladino

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.