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Covid-19 Pandemic Affects The International Signing Period

As of Thursday, May 14, 2020

#MAJOR League Baseball continues to make adjustments to its schedule of operations and a reduction in the amateur draft could delay the international signing period, a time when many Bahamian prospects have signed minor league deals in recent years.

#MLB is negotiating a proposal that could lead to a shortened season that begins in July, a draft that has been shortened to just five rounds and also the agreement allows MLB to delay the opening of the international signing period from July 2 to as late as January 15.

#The league has yet to inform teams when the signing period will begin.

#International Elite Sports Academy products Adari Grant and Kristin Munroe were listed by MLB Pipeline as some of the top infield prospects in the current class and were considered highly sought after prospects.

#The Bahamian pair were the only players from the English-speaking Caribbean on a list dominated by prospects from the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela.

#The international signing period is when major league clubs sign amateurs from anywhere outside the United States.

#MLB can push the 2020-21 period back to January 2021, and the 2021-22 period back to January 2022. Teams will also not be allowed to trade international bonus slots in 2020 or 2021. The draft is expected to take place virtually on June 10.

#As a byproduct of the COVID-19 fallout, there has also been a reported agreement in place with the MLB to reduce the number of minor league affiliate teams by 40.

#MiLB currently fields 160 teams across its various leagues, but that number could be reduced to as much as 120 and the remaining teams could face realignment, according to the Washington Post.

#Prior to the suspension of all baseball activity, many of the Bahamian players had yet to receive their assignments for the upcoming season.

#The MLB pledged to offer players financial support through May 31 as the pandemic continues.

#According to the Associated Press, the weekly minimum salaries on full-season minor league teams range from $290 at Class A to $502 at Triple-A over the five-month season, meaning many players are making more during this hiatus than they do during the season.

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