PHOENIX -- The Cubs have been fined by Major League baseball an undisclosed amount of cash for violations involving the First-Year Player Draft, ESPN.com reported on Monday. The Cubs released a statement confirming at least an impropriety, if not the fine. "The violation alleged involved failure to notify the League office prior to signing a player. We are working with the League on an appropriate resolution," the statement read.
A spokesman for MLB declined to confirm or deny the report when reached in New York on Monday night. Cubs assistant general manager Randy Bush, who was at Chase Field as the Cubs played the Diamondbacks, also declined to comment. General manager Jim Hendry was not at the ballpark. Citing unidentified sources, ESPN.com said that the Cubs broke a rule that requires clubs to report signing agreements to the Commissioner's office as well as a rule requiring that an agreement be in place before any signed Draft pick takes the field. MLB is continuing to investigate whether the Cubs broke any other rules, ESPN.com said, as part of its investigation into scouting irregularities, particularly in Latin American countries that are not included in the Draft. At present, the Draft only includes amateur players from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The mechanism for devising a worldwide Draft was part of the 2002 collective bargaining agreement reached between MLB owners and the Players Association. But the concept was ultimately abandoned because the owners thought the scouting system involved would be too costly. The union is content to keep as many players categorized as free agents as possible. Last week at the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America luncheon in New York only hours prior to the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, Commissioner Bud Selig said discussion of a worldwide Draft is back on the table. "I don't think it's any secret that support for a worldwide Draft is growing amongst all baseball people," Selig said. "I've had a lot of people, including a significant number of general managers, say to me in the last couple of months that they wish we had a worldwide draft. I think that's something we will discuss in the future."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.