Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Contracts, bonuses, and collective bargaining in Major League Baseball

The current controversy in Major League Baseball concerns whether the Commissioner's office unilaterally extended the signing deadline (mignight EST, August 15) for one or more of the clubs negotiating with players chosen in this year's amatuer player draft. Jerry Crasnick has written a lengthy summary of the events, which is well worth reading. I want to focus on two sentences of that piece:

"Any team that wants to shoot the moon on a Boras pick will never announce the signing in, say, early July, because it knows it will risk the ire of the commissioner's office by setting the bonus bar high for everybody else. The teams are instructed to wait as long as possible in such cases."

Any way one tries to interpret these sentences, if they are accurate, they reflect a clear case of collusion among teams in their negotiations with some of the players they have drafted. If this is true, and if I were working for the MLBPA, I'd be thinking abour filing another grievance, one alleging substantial monetary damages to the players inviolved.


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