What happens to a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract? First, it is not unusual for a drafted baseball players to turn down or reject their first or even second chance at the draft. Likely, they do not have an agent – but that is a different topic all together.
Below, you will find examples of past players who didn’t’ sign a contract after being drafted into the Major Leagues.
This article will discuss what happens if you are a drafted baseball player and you don’t sign a contract and are you ever eligible again? If yes, when are you eligible? If no, what next?
Why wouldn’t a Drafted Baseball Player sign a contract?
A drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract likely experienced two types of scenarios:
(1) The player rejected the offer(s) presented to them by the team that drafted the player; or
(2) The player’s “closed period” expired.
What is a Closed Period?
A significant issue with a baseball player who gets drafted is first determining their closed period. At the time this article was written, any player drafted as a Rule 4 draftee has until July 18, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time to negotiate and sign their first contract. In other words, the closed period to sign a contract is anytime after 5:00 p.m Eastern Time on July 18, 2014.
This is a big big deal because any player who does not sign a contract by this deadline is not eligible to sign a contract with the team that drafted them in the year in which they were drafted.
On the other hand, if a year goes subsequent to the year in which the player meets the definition of a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract and the player was not drafted in this year’s draft, that player is eligible to sign with any professional franchise.
Is a Drafted Player who doesn’t sign a contract out of luck?
As you likely already know, it is not uncommon for a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract to be drafted in multiple and successive years. For example, consider the baseball career of Brandon Miller, who was drafted in the 33rd round in 2008, the 48th round in 2010, and the 4th round in 2012. Thus,
A drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract as a result of either two scenarios referenced above is not doomed or out of luck. For many players, a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract follow-up by playing baseball for a college team. Specific to the negotiating process, this is called leverage.
If you no longer are interested in playing college baseball, then a player can begin their professional career by playing baseball with an unaffiliated baseball team.
Can a previously Drafted Player sign a contract next year with the same team?
A drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract may not be selected by the same Major League Club in any subsequent draft unless the baseball player has notified the Commissioner in writing that the baseball player has no objections to a re-selection by the previous team.
Can a Player get drafted in the following year?
Yes, a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract can be drafted again and again.
On the other hand, it is never a forgone conclusion that a player will be drafted in subsequent years.
But wait, what if you don’t get drafted in the next draft?
If the baseball player is no longer eligible to play college baseball, the baseball player can begin seeking tryouts with baseball teams unaffiliated with a Major League Team. Again, this not an uncommon issue either. For example, consider the baseball career of J.D. Drew (“Drew”).
Drew was drafted in 1994 and 1997. After both years, Drew refused to sign with the team that drafted him. Because Drew wasn’t eligible for college baseball, Drew played baseball for an independent baseball team called the Saint Paul Saints. Drew played for the Saint Paul Saints because they were not affiliated with a Major League Team.
Final thoughts on players who reject an offer:
If you are a drafted baseball player who does not sign a contract, do not be alarmed…this is part of the process. If you fall into this situation, please consider contacting Royal Sports Group for help.