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Hard Slotting Is Bad for the Yankees

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the MLB Players Association and Major League Baseball are not expected to effect the 2012 season, but the issue of instituting a hard-slotting for the June Amateur Draft has reached the forefront of discussions, according to Jim Breen of Fangraphs.

According to Breen, "The players view hard-slotting as the beginning of a salary cap in baseball, as it begins to limit how much teams are able to spend on amateur baseball players."

Breen's example of the Dodgers' signing of Zach Lee is a perfect example of why a hard-slot is bad for the Yankees. Lee was committed to LSU to play football, and after being drafted 28th overall, the recommended bonus was $1.134MM. The Dodgers offered him $5MM, he signed, and baseball took one of the best amateur prospects away from football.

That scenario would not be possible with a hard-slot. Lee accepted life-changing money and received nearly $4MM over slot, a significant overpay.

With the current system, teams avoid some of the players with two-sport commitments, or some of those players who will command a higher bonus. With the Yankees selecting at the end of the draft nearly every season, their only chance to add high-end talent through the amateur draft is to hope teams pass on high-end talent in order to select more signable players.

After teams select the more signable players, the Yankees have chances to select guys like Andrew Brackman or Gerrit Cole. There are obviously risks, but the Yankees' best chance to add elite talent in the draft is to hope for players falling due to signability or bonus demands.

Eliminating the bonus demands by instituting a hard hap would severely limit the Yankees' ability to add elite talent through the draft. It may help worse teams add better talent, and keep amateur bonuses lower, but the hard cap will significantly impact the elite teams' chances of adding significant talent through the June Amateur Draft.