A committee responsible for discussing how Major League Baseball handles international players has been appointed, and the body's early slate of topics has the potential to bring major change.
Created as part of the new Basic Agreement, the International Talent Committee features four members each from the Office of the Commissioner and the Major League Baseball Players Association. MLB executive vice president for labor relations and human resources Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner are co-directors, and each appointed three more members.
The Committee will meet twice per month after its first meeting on Jan. 15, 2012, and chief among the subjects will be the potential creation of an International Draft. The Committee could recommend changes to the ages international amateur players are eligible to be signed, regulations for international amateurs' agents and how Cuban players should be treated due to their political realities. Much of the discussion is intended to be on a country-by-country basis -- what works in one Latin American country may not work well in another.
The Committee will also brainstorm how to get to the bargaining table to revise protocol agreements with the professional leagues in Japan, Korea and Taiwan so that a Draft can be implemented.
Kim Ng, Sandy Alderson and Andrew Friedman will serve as Manfred's selections. Ng and Alderson, who is the Mets' GM, have extensive experience with the international realm. Ng manages all overseas efforts in her current role as MLB's senior vice president for baseball operations, and Alderson was previously MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations.
Friedman, the Rays' executive vice president of baseball operations, doesn't have the same background in the Commissioner's Office as Ng and Alderson, but he has helped Tampa Bay become a pioneering team in the international markets. The Rays have built new facilities in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia, and they are set to become the first team to open a facility in Brazil.
Weiner appointed MLBPA director of player relations Tony Clark, MLBPA senior advisor Rick Shapiro and MLBPA special assistant Stan Javier. Clark played 1,559 big league games and Javier, a native of the Dominican Republic, played 1,763 games in the Majors. Shapiro has more than two decades of experience representing baseball players and other athletes.