In a continued effort by owners to cut costs during the novel coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball will reduce the 2020 draft from 40 rounds to five, according to multiple reports.
Teams will reportedly be allowed to sign an unlimited number of undrafted players for $20,000 once the five rounds conclude. The draft is slated to begin June 10. The last time MLB shortened its draft was in 2012 when it was reduced from 50 rounds to 40.
A March agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association allowed the league to shorten the draft to as few as five rounds and move the event to July if need be. As part of the agreement, owners will advance the players $170 million to cover salaries through May but will not be on the hook to pay any more if the season is ultimately canceled. In return, the union agreed not to sue for lost salaries.
The league is feeling the financial burden six weeks into what would have been the regular season.
"We're going to lose billions of dollars this year, no matter what," one high-ranking baseball official told The Post this week. "People don't realize the magnitude of the losses, but they're huge."
News surfaced Wednesday that MLB will submit a best-case scenario proposal that outlines a pathway to begin the 2020 regular season this summer. The situation is fluid, but MLB's proposal includes a three-week "spring training 2.0" in June, with games to follow in July. ESPN reports the proposal is expected to be sent Tuesday.
MLB was shut down March 12 with the suspension of spring training and a two-week delay to the start of the regular season. Games are suspended until at least the end of May. The league is still adhering to federal and local guidelines for public safety and can't resume play until given the green light from enough municipalities. MLB would prefer to host games at teams' home stadiums instead of a centralized location.
The Korea Baseball Organization began regular season play without fans this week under specific safety measures, perhaps providing a blueprint for MLB to follow in the event a 2020 season is salvageable.
This article was written by Jake Russell, a reporter for The Washington Post.