Fernando Tatis Jr. says International Draft will “kill baseball in Dominican Republic”

Sep 17, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) looks on during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (23) looks on during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. cautions against MLB implementing an international draft

For the second week in a row, Major League Baseball introduced a massive roadblock at the eleventh hour of negotiations with the Players’ Union, as they attempted to break their own players into submission, no matter the cost.

This week, it was the implementation of an international draft. MLB offered to eliminate qualifying offers in exchange for union approval on the draft.

The topic brought the negotiations to a standstill, and by Wednesday evening, MLB had shaved two more series of games off the season schedule.

Ahead of that bad news, were San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz cautioning against the international draft.

According to MLB Insider Héctor Gómez (via El Caribe), Tatis and Ortiz are strongly against the international draft because of how it will affect the Dominican Republic. Here’s what Tatis had to say:

"“The International Draft is going to kill baseball in DR. It’s going to affect us a lot, because there will be many young people who used to give them the opportunity to get a bonus and with the draft it will not be the same.”"

Ortiz went into greater detail with insider Jeff Passan, noting that it would take a long time to implement a draft of this magnitude and that the situation needs to be handled with care:

"“Taking time — that makes more sense. OK, guys, let’s keep up this pace to do it three, four years from now. We sit down with the big-time players. We listen to what they have to say. If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right. Rushing it like this is not right.Baseball is such a big thing in the Dominican. Baseball keeps kids off the streets. We don’t want that to walk away from us. We want it to get better. That’s my focus. Nothing else. We have the youth. People wanting to be me, Pedro [Martinez], [Albert] Pujols. We can’t let that go away.At the end of the day, I don’t want those kids to be affected by it. I already played baseball. I had a career. I care about the kids being treated right. I understand MLB wants to have control over everything they do, but you’re not going to change the system overnight. Baseball is one of the secret weapons of the Dominican economy. If you talk about a draft here in the states, you have choices. You can do football, basketball. You don’t have choices [in the D.R.]. Dominican has baseball to make your way out. That’s it. You have to be careful.”"

Nearly one-third of MLB players come to the league from Latin America, and some of the league’s biggest stars, Tatis included, were international signings. Many players in the league today witnessed or experienced firsthand the unsavory tactics of the international baseball market. If they are so strongly opposed, they have valid reasons to be, as opposed to the league, which has spent the entire lockout operating in ways that preserve or expand their leverage, control, and revenue.

With the international draft and other issues currently on the table, it’s important to remember that everything the players are fighting for is not for the richest among them, but for the players making the major-league mimum, players whose teams are manipulating their service time, and for the next generation of players. Max Scherzer didn’t go to the Florida meetings to fight for himself; none of the aforementioned issues impact him.

Current and former players are clear on the issues they are deeply passionate about, and they stand in stark contrast to what MLB has championed in this face-off: breaking the union, missing games, alienating their fanbase, et cetera.

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