Amidst all the trading this weekend, I missed this article about the draft deadline, but I have to say - it's spot-on.
"I think every baseball guy you'd talk to would like to move the [draft-signing] deadline up to July 1," said John Hart, MLB Network analyst and longtime Cleveland Indians general manager. That way, teams have three weeks minimum to sign however many of their 50-round picks they desire, rather than "pulling guys off the [first-semester college] lawn" after a process made sluggish by above-slot delays and near-deadline deals.
"I think you could shorten the game. Give them July 1. Aug. 1, the latest," added J.P. Ricciardi, the former Toronto Blue Jays GM who now works as an ESPN analyst. "How should it be a long, drawn-out process? Once a kid gets drafted, he knows how much money he's going to get, who's getting what, the guys around them."
I just can't see a reason why it shouldn't work this way. We've already seen the mess made in the Pirates' negotiations with eighth-round pick Dace Kime. We've also seen that top draft picks, like Pedro Alvarez, often don't sign until right before the deadline (or right after - wink!). Meanwhile, these guys are just sitting at home, when they could be in the minors learning. So why not move the deadline up a month or so, to make sure these guys get a couple months in the minors before the end of the season?