In the midst of a scandal involving scouts from multiple teams and other club officials "skimming" bonuses from Latin-American players, Selig said MLB continues to look into the possibility of a worldwide draft. The draft is currently confined to the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.As I noted before, the skim scandal bears no direct relationship to the imposition of a draft. The scandal is a criminal matter borne of careless accounting and communication practices. A draft is, ideally anyway, a mechanism for depressing salaries and bonuses. Teams can completely control and account for the bonuses being given to Dominican players absent a draft. Likewise, team officials could still skim bonus money even if those bonuses were handed out incident to a draft as opposed to a free agent signing. The issue is oversight, not structure.
"I don't think it's any secret that support for a worldwide draft is growing amongst all baseball people," Selig said. "I've had a lot of people, including a significant number of general managers, say to me in the last couple of months that they wish we had a worldwide draft. I think that's something we will discuss in the future."
My gut tells me that baseball was completely fine with whatever was happening down on the Island -- maybe even the skimming -- as long as the bonuses stayed low. Now they're not so low anymore, and thus baseball feels the need to do something about it. Simply imposing a draft on a straight-up basis would be unpopular and politically difficult, so baseball needs a hook. The skim is that hook. A red herring -- baseball's version of the WMDs -- given more play than is warranted so that baseball can say it is addressing criminal exploitation when, in reality, it's simply trying to prevent the next Michel Inoa from happening.
Will it work? If recent history has shown, Selig tends to get what he wants, so maybe we'll see such a Dominican draft sometime soon. Hopefully not too soon, however, because the Rule IV draft is itself rife with inefficiencies and problems. Indeed, if Selig isnt' careful he may, in the rush to prevent the next Michel Inoa, create many, many Rick Porcellos.