A possible 50-game baseball season; Preparing for the MLB draft; Ciolek on signing undrafted players - BaltimoreBaseball.com

2020 MLB Draft

A possible 50-game baseball season; Preparing for the MLB draft; Ciolek on signing undrafted players

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Had Major League Baseball and the Players Association come to an agreement on economic and health issues, teams likely would have been regathering this week.

MLB’s idea of an 82-game season beginning the July 4 weekend looks to be dead unless there’s a sudden turn in the negotiations.

There has been chatter that commissioner Rob Manfred is going to propose a 50-game schedule as a last resort. He believes he has the power to mandate a schedule.

The idea of a 50-game regular season is awful. How many bad judgments on players, managers and teams would be made after a season that short?

In 2019, the Washington Nationals started the season 19-31 and went on to win the World Series.

Fans seemed willing to accept the idea of an 82-game schedule because it was slightly more than half a season. Many thought that half a season was better than none.

But 50 games? I don’t think even the hardcore fan will think that that’s better than no baseball.

Draft this week: There will be some substantive non-labor news this week.

On Wednesday, the the MLB draft begins, and the Orioles have six picks in the five rounds.

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They’ll pick second and 30th on Wednesday. Their 30th pick is the first in Competitive Balance Round A, and they move up a slot because the Houston Astros forfeited their first-round pick as part of their punishment for electronic sign-stealing.

On Thursday, the Orioles have the 39th pick, the second pick of the second round. They’ll also have the second pick in rounds three, four and five.

Fans are more engaged than usual in guessing the Orioles’ first-round selection.

Most draft analysts think the Detroit Tigers, who’ll pick first, will select Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

If Torkelson is off the board, some think the Orioles will pick Vanderbilt third baseman/outfielder Austin Martin. Others think New Mexico State middle infielder Nick Gonzales will be the pick.

In recent days, others have written that the Orioles, who have the largest draft pool at $13,894,300, would go for Florida high school outfielder Zac Veen and try to sign him for below the $7,789,900 slotted for the second overall choice and be able to pay players more later in the draft.

Others who are getting lots of play as possible early picks are Texas A&M left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy and Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock. Some chatter linked the Orioles with Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, whom MLB.com ranks 10th and The Athletic’s Keith Law ranks 11th.

Law ranks Martin as the best prospect in the draft, and in his mock draft, he has the Orioles’ selecting Martin.

The Orioles haven’t selected an infielder with their first pick since Manny Machado, who was the third overall selection in 2010.

Wednesday’s draft begins at 7 p.m. and will be shown on the MLB Network and ESPN. Thursday’s coverage of rounds 2-5 begins at 5 p.m. on MLB Network and ESPN2.

Ciolek on signing on undrafted amateurs: Brad Ciolek, the Orioles’ scouting supervisor, believes the Orioles will be aggressive in signing eligible players who aren’t drafted. Players not taken in the five-round draft can be signed for a maximum of $20,000.

In an interview last week, Ciolek discussed the issue.

Question: Do you think the Orioles will be able to “out-opportunity” other teams in signing these $20,000 free agents?

Ciolek: “I think as far as the opportunities are concerned, I will just say this: Mike Elias has always been the type to aggressively push players in the minor leagues if he feels that they’re ready.

“There’s not exactly a Rubric or a step-by-step process. There are certain guys last year like Johnny Rizer and [Zach] Watson that moved up a little more quickly instead of just keeping them at one spot and that is one thing that Mike and our development staff will focus in on, and that might be appealing to a lot of these guys who end up not getting drafted — the fact that we’ll promote guys when we think that they’re ready instead of saying, ‘Let’s wait a whole year and see how he does and move him up gradually.’

“I think in regards to your question about opportunities, it certainly rings true in this circumstance.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. SpinMaster

    June 8, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Rich:
    Are MLB players being paid now, during the pandemic? If the season were to be cancelled altogether would they receive any pay this year? If not would the money they would have been paid put in escrow to be paid once they resume play?
    Sorry for all the questions.

    • cedar

      June 8, 2020 at 9:11 am

      This doesn’t answer your questions but here is a very good article about MLB salaries that I found very enlightening: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-much-money-do-mlb-players-really-make/

      • SpinMaster

        June 8, 2020 at 11:11 am

        cedar:
        Thanks for the article. It was an interesting read, especially making me realize the heavy tax burden that the players have and that quite a bit of their salary goes to pay these taxes. I am still wondering if the players are being paid right now and will they receive any stipend if the season is cancelled.

        • Rich Dubroff

          June 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm

          Players were paid through late May, Spin. They will receive no further compensation if the season is not played. What they will be paid if there is a season is what the negotiations are about.

  2. NormOs

    June 8, 2020 at 8:57 am

    How come the O’s don’t get another pick in round 1 for the “Ever Cheating, They Can’t Help It” Boston Red Sox? I’ve forgotten, did anyone (on field players, coaches) get kicked out of baseball on either team, PERMANANTLY? Ask “The Eight Men Out” how that feels. How many of these lowlifes on both teams will get nominated for the HOF?

    • Rich Dubroff

      June 8, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      No one got permanently banned, Norm, but I would be surprised if Jeff Luhnow has an executive position in baseball again. While no player, coach or executive was suspended because of the Red Sox affair, their manager Alex Cora was suspended because of his involvement in the Astros affair.

  3. cedar

    June 8, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I agree with your statement about a 50 game season – if that’s the best they can do then I would rather forgo the season this year.

  4. Orial

    June 8, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Baseball’s in a damned if you do damned if don’t time–50 game schedule doesn’t work and canceling the season is something the sport just can’t do and remain relevant in the eyes of the public. I worry more how teams like the O’s will remain solvent once this is all over. Very concerning without a sense of urgency tied to it. On another frobt,even it seems irrelevant at this point, is the draft. Austin Martin and call it a day. No matter how good Lacy is I still say NO.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 8, 2020 at 11:36 am

    If it’s only going to be a 50 game season … heck .. I’ll take it.

    GIVE ME SOME SPORTS ON TV (other than a couple of girls beating each other up for Dana White’s perverted sense of competition)

  6. Bancells Moustache

    June 8, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    50 games is infinitely better than no baseball. I’m sorry Rich, but to say otherwise is ludicrous.

    At this point though, MLB, the Players Union, the Orioles, they can all go to hell. With the whole nation watching, they promptly crapped in their $2000 Armani pants. Again. And they’ll fire up the grainy footage of the “luckiest man in the world” speech and Cal circling the stadium after 2131 and we’ll all tear up then put up with more of this pompous garbage when it happens again.

  7. CalsPals

    June 8, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    50 games is better than no games…at this point the O’s could catch lightening in a bottle & have an impactful season, 50 games in last year the Nats wouldn’t have made the playoffs, let alone win the WS…go O’s…

  8. BirdsCaps

    June 8, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    I’ll take a 50 games season, but wouldn’t think much of it in terms of the ws champ. Heck at 50, or maybe even 80 games a crappy team like the birds could do well if they got on a hot streak!

  9. NormOs

    June 8, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    So the World Series was stolen two years in a row and no on the field personel get anything but “don’t do that”
    Sorry, this was to Rich

  10. GSISDANNO

    June 8, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    A 50-game season would be like the NFL playing 5 games. Shame on the MLB owners and players. During WW2, FDR insisted that baseball continue for the morale of the people. The first six months of 2020 have been very hard for this country. Many Americans have died, many others have gotten sick. Others have been laid off and others have been furloughed or fired. Many businesses have gone under.
    Baseball could have been a morale booster for many in this country.
    But, everyone involved has let us down.
    I do not blame the players. They had a negotiated agreement with the owners for this season. Now the owners want to change it.
    I am sorry that the owners stand to lose money. But their losses 2020 will be dwarfed in 2021 when they try to sell season tickets and sell corporate sponsorships. I am sure the TV contracts wont be as good.
    It took MLB a long time to recover from the 1994 strike. It may take longer this time.

    • Bancells Moustache

      June 8, 2020 at 7:05 pm

      MLB probably shouldn’t recover this time. And FDR kept the game going because it was the national pastime. Now it’s just bloated get rich scheme.

  11. Mickraut

    June 8, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    This situation is utterly ridiculous and, at the same time, tragic.
    The owners are not hurting, financially, by any stretch of the imagination.
    The players, as a whole, while not as wealthy as the owners, are still making darn good money to play a game they supposedly love. What is the base annual salary ? 550 K ? Most Americans could do pretty well with that.
    I fear both parties are doing irreparable damage to our national pastime and it is as if they do not even realize it. Maybe they just don’t care.
    The arrogance is mind- boggling.

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