Monday's MLB: Players’ union rejects international draft proposal; Red Sox end 5-game skid

Ronald Blum
Associated Press

New York — Major League Baseball’s goal of an international amateur draft was thwarted again when the players’ association rejected management’s final offer on Monday and retained direct draft-pick compensation for free agents.

The quirky tie between the two provisions was established in the March 10 agreement that ended the 99-day lockout and preserved a 162-game season. The sides gave themselves until July 25 to reach an agreement on an international draft, which MLB has sought since 2002, and specified the draft-pick provision would be dropped in the event of a deal.

Former Tiger and MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark, right, answers a question at a press conference in New York in March this year. At left is Bruce Meyer, senior director, collective bargaining & legal.

There was little movement over the four months. The union made an offer during a Zoom meeting Saturday, and MLB presented what it termed its final proposal in an email Sunday. Union officials forwarded that plan to the players’ executive board and said they planned to reject it.

Hearing no opposition, union deputy executive director Bruce Meyer telephoned deputy commissioner Dan Halem with the rejection at about 3:45 p.m. EDT Monday.

The decision, announced about eight hours before the deadline, was the final step needed to complete the collective bargaining agreement that expires on Dec. 1, 2016. Retaining compensation is likely to limit the market for some older players set to become free agents, a group set to include Anthony Rizzo, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale and Charlie Morton.

“Each of our proposals was focused on protecting against the scenario that all players fear the most – the erosion of our game on the world stage, with international players becoming the latest victim in baseball’s prioritization of efficiency over fundamental fairness,” the union said in a statement. “The league’s responses fell well short of anything players could consider a fair deal.”

The decision keeps in place a system of qualifying offers for free agents that began in 2012. A club can make a qualifying offer following the World Series to a free agent who has been with the team since opening day, a one-year contract for the average of the top 125 deals by average annual value. Last year’s figure was $18.4 million.

If a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the signing team is subject to a loss of one or two amateur draft picks and a reduction in international signing bonus pool allotment.

Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel, unhappy with offers during the offseason and spring training. delayed signing in 2019 until June, after the draft pick compensation no longer was attached.

Top players have found robust markets. This year’s free-agent group is headed by Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Trea Turner.

“We are disappointed the MLBPA chose the status quo over transitioning to an international draft that would have guaranteed future international players larger signing bonuses and better educational opportunities, while enhancing transparency to best address the root causes of corruption in the current system,” MLB said in a statement.

An amateur draft was established for residents of the United States and Canada in 1965 and extended to residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico in 1990. MLB has pushed for a similar international amateur draft, saying part of its rationale was to combat illicit agreements made before players are age eligible – at least 17 at the time of signing or 16 at the time as long as the player turns 17 by the Sept. 1 of the contract’s first season.

MLB proposed last July 28 that a 2024 international draft include spending of $181 million for the top 600 players and $190 million in total, up from $166 million in the 2021 signing period.

Players waited until this July 8 to make a counteroffer. They proposed a draft be allocated $260 million for the 2024 signing period, with teams having to guarantee slot values while having the flexibility to exceed them within bonus pools.

MLB increased its offer Saturday to $191 million for 2024 and said it was a final proposal. MLB dropped mandatory drug testing with penalties for positive tests and also changed its proposed medical combine from mandatory to optional.

Management also offered to guarantee a minimum of $5,000 in educational money, a figure rising to $10,000 if the player passes a General Educational Development Test.

The union said MLB’s offer was not sufficient and cited a change management made to its calculation of growth beyond 2024. Players also wanted guarantees to maintain the current number of annual international signings and teams and jobs in the Dominican Summer League. They asked for a $40,000 cap on bonuses for draft-bypassed players, double MLB’s offer. They wanted MLB to contribute $10 million for an international human rights foundation and to hire a joint compliance officer.

Monday's games

(At) Philadelphia 6, Atlanta 4: Bryson Stott homered, doubled and drove in five runs to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-4 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

Alec Bohm doubled and had three hits for the Phillies, who rebounded from a three-game sweep at home against the Chicago Cubs last weekend.

Austin Riley had a pair of doubles and Marcell Ozuna had three hits and an RBI for the Braves, who fell two games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East.

With the Braves leading by one, A.J. Minter (4-3) got the first two outs in the eighth inning before Bohm and Yairo Muñoz singled to put runners on first and second. Stott then drove a full-count cutter into the seats in right field for his seventh home run, putting the Phillies ahead 6-4.

Andrew Bellatti (2-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win, and Seranthony Dominguez worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

Atlanta starter Max Fried gave up three runs on nine hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in six innings.

(At) Arizona 7, San Francisco 0: Merrill Kelly threw eight innings of three-hit ball, Carson Kelly had a pair of doubles and Arizona beat skidding San Francisco for its third win in four games.

Kelly retired the first 15 batters he faced in another stellar performance. Kelly (10-5) lowered his ERA to 3.04, striking out seven and walking none.

The struggling Giants have dropped all five games since the All-Star break. They were swept by the rival Dodgers in a four-game series over the weekend.

Arizona’s Josh Rojas had two hits and an RBI. He also had a career-high three stolen bases. Carson Kelly continued his recent tear with a two-run double in the sixth and another double in the eighth. Jake McCarthy and David Peralta had two hits apiece. both had two hits.

Giants righty Jakob Junis (4-2) threw 4 1/3 innings, giving up one run and three hits.

(At) Boston 3, Cleveland 1: Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac threw the ball out of Fenway Park as the grounds crew began to bring out the tarp, and Boston ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Guardians.

Alex Verdugo hit a tiebreaking double and Boston’s bullpen worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings. The Red Sox remain a half-game ahead of last-place Baltimore in the AL East.

José Ramírez drove in Cleveland’s run with an infield hit. It was the third straight loss for the Guardians.

Yolmer Sánchez hit an RBI single in the third to put Boston ahead 1-0. Home plate umpire and crew chief Dan Iassogna then called for the grounds crew to roll out the tarp and Plesac, who was walking toward the third-base dugout, fired the ball over the third-base roof and out of the ballpark.

John Schreiber (3-1) earned the win and Boston starter Nick Pivetta gave up seven singles and one run over 5 2/3 innings.

Plesac (2-8) was charged with three runs in five-plus innings, allowing only three hits.

(At) Oakland 7, Houston 5: Tony Kemp homered and hit a two-run double, Skye Bolt added a two-run shot, and Oakland dealt AL West-leading Houston its first defeat after a 5-0 start following the All-Star break.

Elvis Andrus added an insurance RBI single in the eighth for Oakland before closer Lou Trivino surrendered a solo homer to Chas McCormick, then finished for his ninth save.

Peña homered in the first for Houston before Kemp’s tying drive leading off the third against right-hander Jake Odorizzi (4-3), who had been 4-0 over his previous seven starts.

A’s right-hander Adam Oller (1-3) struck out four over five innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on four hits.

(At) Cincinnati 11, Miami 2: Jonathan India hit his first career grand slam and Brandon Drury connected for a three-run shot, helping Cincinnati pound banged-up Miami.

India and Donovan Solano each had three hits as last-place Cincinnati improved to 9-4 in its last 13 games.

Miami had 15 players on its injured list, hurting its chances for staying in the NL wild-card race. The Marlins dropped to 3-12 against the Reds since 2019.

Cincinnati rookie Nick Lodolo (3-3) struck out a career-high nine over six innings. He allowed two unearned runs and five hits.

Trevor Rogers (4-10) was charged with six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

(At) Baltimore 4, Tampa Bay 1: Ryan Mountcastle hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in a four-run fifth inning that sent Baltimore over Tampa Bay.

Austin Voth and five Baltimore relievers kept Tampa Bay’s offense from delivering the big hit. The Rays left 10 men on base, including six in the first three innings.

Brandon Lowe homered leading off the third for Tampa Bay, but Corey Kluber (6-6) allowed four earned runs in five innings. Nick Vespi (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings of relief to earn the win.

Voth allowed a run and four hits in three innings.

(At) Chicago Cubs 3, Pittsburgh 2: Nico Hoerner hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning, and Chicago extended its win streak to five games by beating Pittsburgh.

Hoerner finished with two hits and two RBIs. Rafael Ortega homered for Chicago, and Adrian Sampson pitched seven innings of two-run ball.

Mychal Givens (6-2) worked the eighth for the win, and Scott Effross got three outs for his first save in three chances.

Josh VanMeter hit a tying RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth. Oneil Cruz singled home a run, and Yerry De Los Santos (0-2) got the loss.

Pittsburgh has dropped two straight and seven of nine overall.

Colorado 2, (at) Milwaukee 0: Kyle Freeland pitched four-hit ball over seven innings, Daniel Bard worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth and Colorado avoided a four-game sweep with a victory over Milwaukee.

Elias Díaz had a homer that helped the Rockies beat the Brewers for the first time in their last nine meetings.

After failing to get a runner beyond first base through the first eight innings, the Brewers loaded the bases in the ninth against Bard.

Christian Yelich hit a leadoff single to start the rally. Willy Adames followed with a potential double-play grounder, but the Rockies failed to retire anyone as second baseman Brendan Rodgers bobbled the ball and threw late to first. Bard got two outs before walking Rowdy Tellez to move the tying run to second and put the potential winning run at first. Rodgers then snared Luis Urías’ sinking liner to help Bard earn his 21st save in 23 opportunities.

Freeland (5-7) struck out seven and allowed one walk. Aaron Ashby (2-8) struck out nine and allowed just five hits, two runs and one walk in seven innings.

(At) Kansas City 7, L.A. Angels 0: Zack Greinke combined with four Kansas City relievers to hold scuffling Los Angeles to five hits and Michael A. Taylor drove in three runs in the win.

Emmanuel Rivera drove in a run during a four-run seventh, and MJ Melendez added a two-run homer in the eighth, helping to position the Royals for another shot at their first four-game win streak this season on Tuesday night.

Greinke scattered three hits over five innings before giving the ball to Amir Garrett (2-1), who worked around a leadoff double in the sixth. Jose Cuas handled the seventh, Scott Barlow the eighth and Josh Staumont finished off the ninth.

The Angels’ Noah Syndergaard (5-8) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts.