Last week, I suggested that the best way to increase the number of black (and white) Americans playing baseball was to abolish the Rule IV Draft. Well, it seems as if the baseball community in the Dominican Republic believes MLB is headed in the opposite direction with the institution of an international draft. Over at MLBtraderumors.com, Nick Collias has some interesting quotes from Dominican journalists and baseball officials on the possibility of this becoming a reality.
What will they do with the academies and the enormous investments that numerous Major League franchises have made in the country? Because with a draft, training centers would have no reason to be. You’re not going to form a player just so someone else can select and recruit him. And most importantly, will the government and national sports leaders allow this stab at the heart of Dominican baseball without putting up any type of opposition? You have to keep your eyes open, because at any moment the wolf could bring out its fangs. – Dominican baseball columnist Mario Emilio Guerrero (listindiario.com)
As I had mentioned in the earlier post, the only thing that will be accomplished by instituting an international draft is a diminished talent pool. As Guerrero points out, teams will have no reason to invest in countries like the Dominican Republic if they can’t reasonably expect to benefit from the developed talent. That is exactly why teams do not build similar academies in the United States. Transferring the same flawed system from home to abroad could be catastrophic to the game’s quality of play.
Sandy Alderson, who was hired to be a quasi MLB diplomat in the Dominican Republic, has said that an international draft is not in the planning. Unfortunately, however, he has not dismissed it as a long-term goal. The baseball communities across Latin American would be wise to speak up now. Otherwise, they could suffer the same fate as Puerto Rican players did after they were incorporated in the Rule IV draft. It would be a shame if baseball participation suffered a similar decline across all of Latin America.