This seems relevant, given recent discussion about Yu Darvish, Hiroyuki Nakajima and a pair of Cuban outfielders… Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union released a joint statement this morning announcing plans for a committee to discuss changing the way international free agents flow into the Major League system. No decisions have been made yet, but here’s the press release with some bullet points about things the committee will discuss.
New York, NY, Thursday, December 15, 2011 … In accordance with the recently negotiated Basic Agreement, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Office of the Commissioner today announced their respective appointees to the International Talent Committee responsible for discussing the development and acquisition of international players.
MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner and MLB Executive Vice President for Labor Relations and Human Resources Rob Manfred are co-chairs of the committee, and per the Basic Agreement each appoints three members to the committee.
Joining Weiner on the committee are MLBPA Director of Player Relations Tony Clark, MLBPA Senior Advisor Rick Shapiro and MLBPA Special Assistant Stan Javier, while Kim Ng of the Commissioner’s Office, Sandy Alderson of the New York Mets and Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays join Manfred.
By agreement, the Committee will hold its first meeting on or before January 15, 2012 and will meet twice a month thereafter to discuss issues related to the development and acquisition of international players, including but not limited to:
• If there is an international draft, whether international players should be part of a single worldwide draft (including players currently covered by the Rule 4 Draft) or a separate draft (or drafts).
• The appropriate age at which international amateur players should be signed to professional contracts.
• If there are to be multiple drafts, whether players from Puerto Rico should remain in the Rule 4 Draft or instead be part of an international draft.
• The development of appropriate country-by-country plans for playing and development opportunities for players prior to draft eligibility.
• The development of appropriate plans to provide undrafted or unsigned players (including players age 18 to 21) from Latin America with an opportunity to continue their development, including the creation of a new league or leagues, or the addition of centrally-operated Clubs in the Dominican Summer League (“DSL”).
• Whether and how regulations should be put in place regarding representation of international amateur players (e.g., “independent trainers” and agents).
• Improving the education and acculturation programs of Clubs at their international academies.
• What safeguards should be established in relation to any signing bonus payments made to international amateur players.
• The laws of the countries from which international players are signed and how those laws should affect the actions of the parties.
• What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of a revised agreement between MLB and the Mexican League that allows players greater choice of where to play and promotes a fair and open system of player movement.
• What actions are necessary in order to achieve the negotiation of revisions to the protocol agreements with the Korean Professional Baseball League, the Japanese Professional Baseball League, and the Taiwan R.O.C. League to accommodate a draft.
• How Cuban players should be treated under an amateur talent system in light of the legal and political factors that affect their signability.