Mack Ade – I Offer Up A Possible Solution To The International Problem


Good morning.

There is an awful lot of money in professional baseball.

Maury Brown wrote in December 2015 for Forbes

Major League Baseball continues to hit home runs on the business side of the industry. With the year nearly complete, the league can report that gross revenues increased $500 million for 2015, marking the 13th consecutive year MLB has seen record growth. While exact figures are not released, the league will enter 2016 with revenues approaching $9.5 billion.

Yahoo wrote this in January 2016 –

        An analysis of free-agent spending and projected payrolls by Yahoo Sports found that salaries for all 30 teams will near $4 billion this year.

You can do the math, but there seems to be a plenty amount of money to solve the International Draft problems that allow 15-16year old kids to be drafted directly into professional baseball.

Baseball has a potential collective bargaining problem growing and this might be the perfect time to roll both these problems into one solution.

(Update - 

Sources: Owners have backed off the international draft as a requirement for a new collective-bargaining agreement.)

The underage Latin player problem is far different than when I graduated high school at 16-years old (my mother enrolled me into kindergarden late and the powers to be in grade school after reading the results of my IQ test, decided I was a brain and sent me off to what they called ‘SP’ school, where I attended the 7th and 9th grade and skipped the 8th. I then started high school as a 13-year old sophomore and graduated at 16).

This is a far different scenario that the under-educated Latin kids that are under the control of ‘Busteros’, a slimy local version of a baseball agent, as early as them being 10-years old. Parents are forced to sign deals with these slime balls for a huge percentage of any bonus money they get in the International Draft. Both parents and Major League Baseball turns it’s back (and nose) to this process and just writes the checks.

Very few stateside high school baseball players graduate at 16 and MLB makes it very simple to be eligible –

         “High school players, if they have graduated from high school and have not yet attended college or junior college”

As we pointed out above, there is plenty of money generated in this sport to solve a problem that would allow, in some team’s case, up to 25% of its organizational talent.

Why not create a more organized local league situation in various countries/regions for the 15-16 year old baseball players that are trying to make it to stateside organized baseball. Build local team housing (if necessary) at the expense of MLB, overseen by a board of both local and stateside officials.

Determine the top 320 15-16 year olds in the country that might have the ability to someday compete stateside in the minor leagues.

Build a 4-field complex where 8 teams, consisting of 30-40 players per team will compete, live, and train.

Offer these kids real agent-like representation at eventual normal percentages to the agent when the kids are given their bonus.

Then, let them join the regular baseball draft in the year they legally turn 17-years old (do everything you can to prove the validity of their birth certificate).

You don’t know what baseball is like in some of these countries. Their infields are the true definition of ‘sandlots’… a lot made of sand and rocks, not grass. And speaking of rocks, larger ones are used as baseballs in some local choose up games in vacant lots.

This doesn’t solve everything. There’s still the smuggling that goes on out of Cuba (will that stop now or will a new Trump tightening over Cuba return the sport to ancient times?) and no one is sure there can ever be anything called ‘organized’ out of Venezuela, but it would allow for the Dominican Republic (and counties like Columbia) to create a better environment for their young players.

There has to be a solution here. If professional baseball can determine the top 100 International players available for each year’s draft, they can also allocate the proper amount of money needed to house and train these kids foe the 1-2 years needed before they would reach equal eligibility with stateside high school players.


Zozo said...

Great idea Mack. I really think the owners shouldn't back down on constructing some sort of international draft. The money these kids get at 16 is a bit over the top. Let them wait til 17-18 to enter the draft and fill into there bodies a bit more and are On equal footing with US born athletes.
Also having to put them on the 40 man rosters at age of 21 is a bad for business as well because they are still considered young in the minors.

Thomas Brennan said...

Great ideas, Mack, and great point by Zozo regarding 40 man rosters. These guys hit Rule 5 a year too soon.

Hopefully, Cuba ballplayer situation will only improve, but it seems, from what I read, that Obama's easing up on Cuba has only allowed the highly repressive regime the funds to remain highly repressive. Whatever will really normalize Cuba as quickly as possible takes precedence over the narrow baseball issue. Cuba, in many respects, is the North Korea of the eastern hemisphere.

Mack Ade said...

Zozo -

The key to my plan is the one to two years that these kids will get real time organized training while they are still in the Dominican.

By the way, I would welcome any players from Columbia and Venezuela to be part of this plan.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

Sadly, any pullback by President-Elect Trump would only have a negative effect on the ballplayers there trying to come stateside.

They probably would become pawns in the battle.

Thomas Brennan said...

True, Mack. Any idea what each team does to educate these guys once signed? I imagine that must be part of the deal.

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

To the best of my knowledge, there not isn't anything after they are signed, but the 'busteros' take them out of school when they are around 13-14 and have to play baseball in slave like conditions until they are old enough for the draft.

Thomas Brennan said...

If the MLB teams' owners don't have these kids in school while playing developmental league and pre-DSL ball, it is pretty outrageous. Few will make it, schooling should always be a fall back.

Mack Ade said...

Frankly, if they don't make it here, it is back to sugar cane and bananas

Mack's Mets © 2012