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No Free Agency for Ex-FSU Player

May 19, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ J.D. Drew, the former Florida State outfielder who tried to find a loophole in baseball’s amateur draft rules, failed Wednesday in his attempt to win free agency.

Arbitrator Dana Eischen ruled he does not have the authority to rule on Drew’s status because the player is not a member of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which represents only those on 40-man rosters.

The Phillies, who selected Drew with their first-round pick last summer, retain his negotiating rights through next Monday. If he doesn’t sign by 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday, he is available to be selected by any team in the 1998 amateur draft, which starts June 2.

Drew and his agent, Scott Boras, had demanded $11 million from the Phillies, who in turn offered a deal guaranteeing $2 million with the chance to earn $4 million more.

Drew played in the independent Northern League last year rather than sign with the Phillies, who hold the top pick in this year’s draft. The players’ association argued that because he signed with a Northern League team, he no longer was an amateur player and should no longer be subject to the draft.

Eischen, in his first major decision as baseball’s independent arbitrator, said the union didn’t have cause to bring a grievance because Drew wasn’t a union member. He said any change in Drew’s status was a subject for baseball’s ruling executive council, which has no interest in weakening the draft.

``We are pleased,″ acting commissioner Bud Selig said. ``We have always believed that any such relief sought by a non-major league player should be brought before the executive council.″

Eischen did invalidate changes made to the draft rules by teams last September.

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