Draft Deadline: The new rules

When MLB changed it’s draft rules last October, there were two key points to note:

1) Teams that do not sign a top 2 Round pick will receive a comparable pick in the 2008 draft. If you fail to sign the 7th overall pick, you would receive pick 7A in 2008. For example, if Tampa fails to ink David Price and if Tampa finished last in the standings again, they would receive the first overall pick and then receive pick 1A (functionally, the second overall pick). This provides significant leverage by improving the team’s BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). A draftee is in the same spot as before, but it’s a little easier for the team to stick to slot guidelines knowing they would be forfeiting a whole lot less. Source and a list of the unsigned first rounders.

2) Everything must be done by midnight Wednesday. That means not just an agreement in principal. A signed agreement won’t even cut it unless the player has passed his physical. It’s hard to tell if a physical can be performed before a contract is signed, because all draft rules aren’t public, but which unsigned stars go in for a doctor’s visit tomorrow or Wednesday morning can probably be an indicator as to who’s close to closing their deal. Source.

Notable unsigned players as of yesterday include #1 Price (Tampa Bay), #2 Mike Moustakas (Kansas City Royals), #3 Josh Vitters (Chicago Cubs) and #5 Matt Weiters (Baltimore Orioles).

UPDATE: Yahoo Sports has written an article on this topic. It is available here.