Sources: MLB draft likely to be in July, may be shortened

Manfred gives best- and worst-case scenarios for MLB in 2020 (1:59)

Rob Manfred tells Scott Van Pelt the best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2020 MLB season. (1:59)

The Major League Baseball draft is increasingly likely to happen in July, though it could be shortened and include bonus deferrals, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

Fear of handing out significant signing bonuses amid cash-flow questions prompted a number of owners to question whether the 2020 draft should be canceled altogether, according to sources.

Discussions between MLB and the MLB Players Association have centered on a compromise that would see a draft between five and 10 rounds and signing bonuses with a small up-front payment and larger amounts due in July 2021 and July 2022, sources said.

All undrafted players would have a maximum signing bonus of $10,000, according to sources.

The talks regarding the draft are part of a larger agreement that is close to being codified, sources told ESPN. It includes a framework for paying players, service time and other considerations paramount to starting the season, which was scheduled to begin Thursday.

Owners have long discussed shortening the draft, and it was expected to be a point of discussion heading into the winter 2021 expiration of the labor agreement between the league and union.