After a long needed vacation, I’ve had my mind on a controversial topic that shook up a lot of Braves Country this week, the signing process for 1st round draft picks. Kolby Allard, Atlanta’s first 1st round choice (14th overall), made headlines by not signing his contract until last week, only a week shy of the deadline. Number one Overall pick Dansby Swanson is the only 1st rounder yet to sign. As many of you know, picks in the MLB draft have the option to not sign a contract and go back to college to attempt to drive up their stock and get more money. That’s totally fine with me… UNLESS you’re picked in the 1st round.
For those of you who don’t know, if Allard had chosen to continue and go to UCLA instead of signing, the Braves would have received the 15th overall pick next year as compensation. I have no problem with Allard wanting to go to college, but we all know he isn’t going for 4 years and getting a degree, he’s doing it for himself. These high school kids want more and more money every year. These signing bonuses should be there to replace going to college. Kids sign for a $2.8 million dollar bonus; if you can’t save that or use it as a backup fund if you flop, you need a new financial planner.
These kids need to make up their mind; if you’re selected in the 1st round you’re either locked or out of the draft for a minimum of 3 years. I know that this is the rule for Universities, and it is a good rule to protect them, but players like Brady Aiken have gone to a Junior College for one year then made the jump. There has to be some kind of penalty to protect teams. If kids in any other round want to go to college to drive up their stock; that’s totally fine with me, but something needs to change in regards to the players selected in the first round.
The system is simply flawed. Players with just a high of upside get paid upwards of $50 million dollars on the international market. We of course know that the way the game is ran financially today benefits big market teams with big pockets. The signing bonuses are affected other draft selections’ negotiations. Things need to change. Hopefully with Rob Manfred now at the helm, changes will come with time.