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MLB Draft: Teams Can Reallocate Funds For Players Signed For Less Than Recommended Maximum

Jim Callis has more on the draft, and the situation with MLB taking money out of team pools for unsigned picks is not quite as dire as I worried yesterday that it might be. If a team signs a player for less than MLB's recommended maximum, it can use the leftover funds to sign other players. If, however, a player is unsigned, MLB takes away the entire recommended maximum for that pick.

I'm not yet sure what the ramifications of that policy will be, but I'm sure there will be a lot of pre-draft handshake deals. As I noted yesterday, I bet there will also be some extremely weird negotiations.

Let's say a team drafts Player A in the first round, and he has a recommended value of $2.5 million. Then it drafts Player B, a talented high school pitcher with a strong college commitment, in a later round. Player A is widely perceived to be worth less than his recommended slot value; Player B wants more than his recommended value to sign. The team offers Player A $1.5 million. Now Player A can tell the team to go fly a kite, because he knows that if he goes unsigned, the team also can't sign Player B, because the entire $2.5 million will disappear from the team's pool. So, in a strange way, Tony Sanchez-type picks will actually have more leverage than they used to.

As McCutchenIsTheTruth points out in the comments, this does prevent teams from punting early-round picks, spending heavily late in the draft, then getting the value of the punted picks added to the pool the following year. I just wonder if it's going to create scenarios that are equally weird.

Other highlights: the draft will only be 40 rounds now, rather than 50. The 2012 signing deadline will be at 5:00 PM on July 13. And picks from the competitive-balance lottery can be traded, although other picks cannot.