Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 6/4/12

The 2012 MLB Amateur Draft begins today, and it’s a day that many baseball fans look forward to more than the actual season. It’s a chance to see your team’s future in a snapshot, and it gives even the worst teams hope for the future. This year, though, the draft is going to look very different.

The Washington Nationals spent the last five years picking in the top ten in the draft, and this year they aren’t even in the top half in the first round at 16th overall. In 2009 and 2010, the Nats were able to pick first overall because of atrocious records the season before, and they were able to land generational talent in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Both guys are now on the Nationals 25-man roster, and both are making a huge impact.

If the Nationals had a chance to pick either of those players this year, or even Anthony Rendon in 2011, it might have been a struggle based on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The new agreement essentially tells teams what they can spend on the draft, or teams can be stuck with extremely high financial penalties: a 75% tax for exceeding number by more than 5%. If you exceed the cap by 15%, you could lose two future first-round picks and be taxed 100%. If teams do that, and the player they drafted the first round of the penalty year doesn’t pan out, it could put a team in the hole for a decade.

This year, there is no “Strasburg” or “Harper.” There’s not even a “Rendon.” Even still, the Nats will be able to spend $4.4 million on their first ten picks. In contrast, they spent $16.5 million on their first five picks in 2011, a draft where they landed significant talent to help their future like Rendon, Matt Purke, and Alex Meyer. If the Nats were restricted to the slot in the past three years, it’s possible the Nationals aren’t competing for the division right now, and it’s likely they couldn’t compete for as long as many expect them to. Under the new agreement, players can’t be signed to major league deals right out of the draft, which compounds the issue.

Now, there’s a point to this: parity. The goal is to give teams like the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Nationals a chance to compete against big money franchises like the Phillies and Yankees. However, it is hindering teams willing to spend money on prospects in the draft rather than helping the teams that only want to pay slot for drafted players. The Lerner family should be lauded for their willingness to spend a lot of money to make the Nats better for their fans; they shouldn’t be penalized for being good owners.

I’m not saying something shouldn’t be done to help bad teams. Without strong drafts, a smart GM in Mike Rizzo, and willing owners, the Nationals wouldn’t be where they are today. Some teams don’t have all of those benefits and need additional help. However, teams that are willing to spend money to build a team from the bottom up rather than going into the free agent market shouldn’t have to risk their future just for one pick, and that’s what the new CBA does.

So as I watch this year’s draft, I’ll be interested in who the Nats pick and how he can help the team in the coming years. But I’ll be equally interested to see who decides to go to college instead of becoming a professional ballplayer because of these new rules.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vlade Divac indicates DeMarcus Cousins’ agents killed other deal

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker