All legal documents are confusing and convoluted. MLB's new Collective Bargaining Agreement is no exception.
I tried asking MLBDD supreme leader, Justin Bopp, for help in interpreting the CBA's stance on an international draft, but by the end of our conversation we were both still a little stumped.
So now we're asking for your help!
Here's the transcript of our (somewhat) brief Gchat conversation to get you oriented on the situation (edited for content and formatted to fit your screen):
Nathan: I'm going over stuff for a feature on the international draft and I've hit a sentence of the CBA that's confusing me.
Nathan: Ok so some background... the new CBA has about three pages of stuff on imposing an international draft, so obviously it's something MLB really wants to do and has been thinking about for a while, complex as it will be.
Nathan: It could have been imposed this year if they had met all the requirements by June 1, 2012, but that didn't happen... so, same thing applies for this year, right? except for this...
Justin: i .. uh ... i have no idea.
Nathan: From CBA - Att. 26, Sec 1.G. pg 268: "If a draft (or drafts) covering international amateur players does not commence in the 2013 season, and irrespective of whether the conditions set forth in 1.E [above] have been satisfied, the Office of the Commissioner may provide notice to the MLBPA that it intends to commence operation of a draft (or drafts) covering international amateur players for the 2014 season and subsequent seasons."
Nathan: is that really saying that the requirements MLB had to meet last year -- which are, like, freaking critical -- are no longer required?
Justin: wait. 1. If an INT. Draft doesn't start before 2013 2. regardless of whether preconditions are met 11:21 PM 3. Commish can announce that an INT. Draft will start 2014 and thereafter. WOW.
Nathan: That's exactly how I read it. How is that possible?
Justin: did MLBPA sign it? (yes) that's how. what were the conditions in the 1.E and what's the 1.E?
Nathan: It's the section above. There are six conditions mostly concerning how they're going to deal with the other countries involved. 1. is Mexican League 2. is KBO, NPB, and Taiwan, 3. is Dominican Summer League, 4. is just about everyone else 5. is DR government, and 6. is agents for international amateurs
Nathan: How do they expect to hold an international draft without figuring that stuff out?
Justin: Well wait. Isn't there a preamble to the IE?
Justin: Something like who is responsible for figuring it out; whether INTL leagues have to agree; etc. Obviously those leagues will have an issue.
Nathan: Yeah, they put together something called the International Talent Committee
Justin: ok, there's the key. who's in that? i'm guessing it's not just MLB, or they wouldn't need a committee.
Nathan: It's a guy from MLB, a guy from MLBPA, and six other people they appoint
Justin: Ok. What happens to that committee of those conditions are not met? Read: is there an express purpose for them to exist?
Nathan: Yeah, there's a bunch of things they're supposed to figure out. Many of which correspond with the six points above.
Justin: so the problem here is the gulf between what they're responsible for and what gets ignored on the previous caveat. Who becomes responsible for those things if/when commish announces the 2014 int'l draft anyway?
Confused? Because we sure are. Any aspiring legal minds out there who can help us out with this?
So far as the CBA is concerned...
1. Can MLB really move forward with a draft without meeting those six preconditions?
2. How the heck does that work?
Here's a link to the CBA in case you missed it the first time around. Scroll down to pages 265-268 for the good stuff.