In June, Major League Baseball will hold its annual “First Player Draft.” I’m ineligible, because I could have been drafted in 2000 but wasn’t, and therefore, am effectively a free agent, able to sign with any team which wants me. But let’s put that aside and, for sake of discussion, assume that I’m just as draft-eligible as anyone else.
If any MLB team wants to draft me, great! Here are my demands:
1. I want a $50,000 signing bonus.
2. I will retire the next day.
3. I will only sign with the Mets.
This is a great deal for the Mets and I hope they take it. Seriously. 1
Starting last year, MLB instituted this weird slotting/cap/tax system. Before last year’s draft, BaseballAmerica explained it well:
[Every pick in the first ten rounds is assigned a dollar amount.] A team’s total budget for the first 10 rounds is the sum of the numbers for all of its picks, so teams that have extra picks and early picks have more money to spend. The Twins have the highest budget this year, with the second overall pick as well as extra picks.
Teams can spread the money among their picks in the top 10 rounds in different ways so long as they stay under the total budget. For example, the Astros could sign their No. 1 pick [assigned a value of $7.2 million] for $5.2 million and spread the extra $2 million among other players. However, if a team fails to sign a player, it cannot apply the budgeted amount for that pick to other players and loses that amount from its overall budget.
See the loophole? If a draftee signs for less than the amount allocated, the team can use the overage on other players. But if a draftee fails to sign, that money goes away. (That happened to the Mets last year with the 75th overall pick when Teddy Stankiewicz didn’t sign.) This year, the Mets have the 76th pick (among many others), which should have an allocation of about $650,000 to $700,000. I propose that the Mets draft me, give me $50,000, and use the remaining $600k or so to sign actual players at amounts above their allocation.
This is, relatively speaking, a huge amount of money. The Mets have the 11th overall pick in 2013. In 2012, that pick was allocated $2.550 million. An extra $600k would bump that to over $3.1 million, which is around where picks 6 and 7 were. Being able to go over slot on a player there could allow the team to land someone who would otherwise be out of reach. Or, the team could use that money to effectively double the signing bonus for the guy they take at #84. There are lots of possibilities.
Unfortunately for me, I’m not draft eligible, though. But there are plenty of college seniors who are, and given the economy and their job prospects, this would be a pretty great thing for one of them.
Plus, I love a good loophole.
Update: Apparently, MLB already is on to this, and issued a memo threatening to void any picks which reek of this idea. Oh well.
- Had I been draft eligible, I mean. ↩