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CBD Column: Should MLB Draft move up Signing Day?

Last week we saw the yearly flurry of draft picked being signed by MLB clubs right at the deadline.

This year, 22 out of the 33 first round picks had not signed heading into the final hour before the deadline. Is this really fair to college baseball coaches to have some of their prized recruits for the next season leave them at the last hour?

Should the deadline be moved to an earlier date for example July 1st or 15th?

We were able to catch up to three prominent head coaches to get their opinion if the deadline should be moved up.

Mike Gambino, Boston College

I think moving the deadline up a couple weeks would help, but only marginally.  The hardest and most complicated part when dealing with the draft is figuring out signability – whether or not a kid will sign if drafted in a particular round. When I was scouting that took up a large amount of my time and, other than your actual evaluation of the player, was really the most important part of the job. Now on the coaching side, I spend a large amount of time talking with our guys and their families helping them figure out what makes sense for them and what they want to do – again, signability. That’s why I think the best solution to a lot of the problems with the draft (escalating bonuses, kids trying to price themselves away from certain teams, the signability issue) is to look at what the NBA and NFL do and figure out a way to make the kids declare for the draft. The logistics would have to be worked out by people who are way smarter than I am and have way more experience than I have. If everyone knows going into the draft, though, that a kid is going to sign if taken then it takes the guessing game out for both sides. Then you don’t have teams taking kids and not getting them signed and you don’t have colleges guessing who will be on their club next year.  If a kid wants to go out, he declares. If college is where he wants to be the following year, he doesn’t.

Don Marbut, Washington State

The August 15th date doesn’t really work for schools like us. We have our players show up on the 17th of August. Losing players like Derek Jones and Taylor Ard would completely change our team and we couldn’t replace them in such a short period of time. I think a deadline like July 1st would make both MLB and us college coaches happy. The pros get their guys signed and out playing in the minors while the college coaches could plan out who’s going to be playing for us.

Dan Spencer, Texas Tech

I would love to see it moved forward. I don’t understand why we have that date right now. I’d like to see it July 1 or July 15, at the latest. Because the same guys are going to sign that are signing now. It would force everyone’s hand at moving a little quicker. It would give us, all of those in college baseball, a chance to replace players that we happen to lose.

Where do you stand in this discussion? Should it be moved up or stay where it is? Feel free to leave your comments below.

  • Bobw

    I can’t see how the summer is anything but a waist of time at this point. Are players moving on or staying were they are. They only people who benefit seem to be the agents who can squeeze a little more cash out a clubs by waiting. It really doesn’t help a college player to play summer ball, unless they tear it up, and it really doesn’t help a high school kid. To often players seem to be going into the fall tired.
    i say July 1 gives clubs three weeks to sign a kid, and both parties can move forward.

    • The players will still hold out to the last possible day to sign. If it is earlier, it will be much easier to get a JuCo in to fill the spot.
      Brian Foley
      Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

  • Macksmets

    I’m sort of old school on this one.

    Hold the draft and give these kids three weeks to sign. Also, structure a fixed slot for the first 20 rounds. After that, all bets are off.

  • Hey Brian nice article!

  • Hey Brian nice article!

  • Hey Brian nice article!

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