Just a thought that has been in the back of my mind that I want to throw out there.
As the only major league in the US without revenue sharing or a salary cap, is it time to reflect on the inequity that the amateur draft brings? Wouldn't it be fair to teams and players to allow all amateurs to be free agents? This post by Diatriber got me to thinking about it...
Speaking of Laffey, did anyone know that Laffey remains the only player from the 2003 Draft that remains on the Indians’ roster or even in the organization? That year, Laffey was a 16th round pick and this week alone has shown that even the players that now find themselves outside of the organization from that draft have underwhelmed.
With 2003 1st Round Pick (11th overall) Michael Aubrey being outrighted off of the Orioles’ 40-man roster and clearing waivers and Ryan Garko (2003 3rd round pick) being outrighted out of Seattle to be a waiver claim for the Rangers, this has not been a particularly good two weeks for the 2003 Indians’ draftees.
The only player, besides Laffey, from that draft who finds himself in a meaningful MLB role entering the 2010 season is Kevin Kouzmanoff (2003 6th round pick), who is now the starting 3B for the Oakland Athletics. As we all know, K2 was traded to for Josh Barfield who finds himself going into the 2010 season as the now 27-year-old 2B for the…wait for it…Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League, after not making the Padres (they of the $37M payroll) out of Spring Training.
Seeing as how Aubrey and Barfield were DFA’d by the team and how no other 2003 draftee still finds themselves in the organization, the players that the Indians have to show for the 2003 draft are minor-league pitcher Scott Barnes (acquired for Garko) and one Aaron Laffey.
It seems that:
1. If the large market teams are simply going to pluck the creme de la creme from small market teams, these large market teams should not have equal rights to the amateurs
2. If players are interested in achieving a max-contract wouldn't they prefer to play for a small/mid-market team to make a name for themselves before signing with the big market teams?
3. At least this would give the players some control over the team where they develop - it hardly seems right that one of the only ways for many high-level talent to break into the big leagues is by being traded.
4. MLB has contract slotting (unwritten) rules for the amateur draft - that just seems wrong if teams are trying to gather the best group of young players to grow their team.
I just can't stand the fact that the big market teams have control over salaries in the draft, too. So what if the Yankees or Red Sox are able to get a Strasburg every year. At least he would be able to hold out for a substantially higher contract, and the rest of the league can pay fair market prices for the available talent.