Peter Gammons reported earlier this week that a group representing both the NCAA and MLB met to discuss moving the date of the draft after the College World Series. In the current format, the draft coincides with the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament.
The two sides came to a “general agreement,” according to Gammons’ report, and are targeting July 1 for the new date. Mainieri said he knew the people involved in the meeting, so he was able to provide input despite not being a part of the process.
He said the MLB representatives have backgrounds in collegiate coaching, so both sides were empathetic toward that plight.
“I knew both sides very well, so even though I wasn’t in the meeting, I could talk to both of them in advance and throw out a lot of ideas that they discussed,” Mainieri said. “They thought it was ridiculous as well that we have to deal with the draft during the season.
The way it’s currently set up, many players must not only worry about trying to advance to the College World Series, but also whether they’ve been drafted. Then they’re even tasked with trying to negotiate a signing bonus with a club that wants to lock up its draft picks sooner rather than later.
According to the proposed changes, the signing deadline would remain July 15, shrinking the window from about six weeks to only two. Mainieri’s in favor of that as well because it would all take place after the college season’s concluded.
“Why do we have to have that much time?” Mainieri asked of the current system. “They only need two weeks. They can sign their players in two weeks, so why not have the draft after the season is over?”
New LSU assistant Andy Cannizaro, who spent several years as an MLB scout, has some perspective from both sides of the table. He too agrees that change is necessary and hopes to see the draft occur in July.
“It’s going to allow our guys to focus on baseball, focus on LSU and focus on winning a national championship,” Cannizaro said. “Professional baseball and the MLB Draft will take care of itself after the season’s over.”
This discussion is only in its earliest stages. Any changes to the draft system must go through the MLBPA and be collectively bargained. So it’s no guarantee that it happens this year, or even within the next few years.
But Mainieri’s optimistic that steps are being made to improve a flawed process.
“I think it would be nothing but a positive thing for everybody,” he said. “I’m excited for the possibility.”