MLB may be colluding to keep signing bonuses for amateur draft players down, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.
SBJ is reporting that the MLBPA is investigating whether the league is threatening clubs with keeping signing bonuses down to a league-mandated level. Signing bonuses for amateur draft players are down approx. 10 percent from last season.
The league is denying that there is an edict from the league on bonuses.
The MLBPA is looking closely into how the league approaches signing bonuses. While recommendations have been made for some time on how to structure them, if the league is working toward an enforced policy, it would be considered collusion and break with the collective bargaining agreement. As reported by the Sports Business Journal:
Michael Weiner, MLBPA general counsel, said that MLB for years has made recommendations about how much drafted players should be paid and that the league is not prohibited from reducing the amount of the recommendation.
But Weiner said, “If those recommendations are mandatory and if the commissioner’s office is threatening adverse actions against a club if they go above the recommendations, that is a violation of the basic agreement.”
The MLBPA has sent a memo out to all MLB-certified agents asking them to provide any evidence that might lend them to think that the practice is being conducted.
An interesting note within the SBJ article is that during the negotiations for the currenct CBA, the topic of “placing a cap on all entry-level players’ signing bonuses as well as a slotting system” was negotiated. The MLBPA rejected the topic and it is not part of the current CBA.