The Oakland A’s refusal to spend money is well known. Free agency is an afterthought at best, with the A’s scraping the bottom of the barrel in search of bargains. Players are traded away as soon as they start to make a decent salary, leading to a cyclical rebuilding nature.
But there is one area that the A’s have been able to spend at the top of the market. They have been a force in the international prospect market, routinely landing some of the top players available according to prospect prognosticators. It is a place that the A’s have been able to throw their weight around, presumably leading to a better future.
Oakland A’s hurt by possible international draft
But that advantage could be coming to an end. Major League Baseball is looking to institute an international draft, something that they have brought up previously. While details regarding how such a draft would work out, it would likely mirror the amateur draft in regards to having a pool and having the worst teams pick first.
That is the problem. The A’s may struggle from time to time, but they are typically able to turn their fortunes around rather quickly. With their ability to restock their farm system, and penchant for finding those underrated assets in free agency, they tend to return to contention within a couple of years.
While that is admirable when it comes to the standings, it hurts in a potential international draft. No matter how well the A’s have done record wise, they have been able to have the same access to players. That would not be the case now.
Granted, there is no promise that these players will work out. Lazaro Armenteros is a cautionary tale at this point and the jury is still out on Robert Puason. But those types of talents, players who were considered amongst the best of their signing period, would no longer be there for the A’s. The one avenue where ownership has been able to invest will now be shut down.
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The international draft could become a reality. If it does, the Oakland A’s would be hit in the one area where they consistently spend money.