International Bonus Slots Another Sign Of Draft Nearing

There won’t be an international draft this year, but the structure of how the 2013-14 bonus pools were determined is another hint that an international draft is on the horizon.

While every team received a $2.9 million international bonus pool for the current 2012-13 signing period, the 2013-14 international pools are based on reverse order of 2012 winning percentage, which means the Astros will have the most amount of money to spend, and the Nationals the least.

However, teams were not just assigned a straight bonus pool figure for 2013-14. Instead, all 30 teams are assigned four slot values, with 120 slot values total (see the chart at the end of this story). The slots values are tiered, with the top slot ($3.246 million) worth the most, then the No. 2 slot ($2.873 million), all the way down to the 120th slot ($135,000) having the lowest value.

For example, the Cubs, who finished with the second-worst record in 2012, have the slot values for No. 2 ($2,873,000), No. 32 ($462,300), No. 62 ($312,200) and No. 92 ($209,700). Each team takes the sum of their four slot values, then adds another $700,000 to get its total bonus pool, which for the Cubs would be $4,557,200.

In practical terms, however, what mostly matters for the team is the total value of its pool space. The Cubs aren’t limited to spending $2.87 million on their top signing or $462,3000 on their second-biggest signing. They have a $4.56 million pool to spend however they see fit.

So why the complex structure when MLB could have just assigned a straight bonus pool value to each team?

The answer—which should surprise nobody, although even some international team officials admitted they didn’t realize it—is that MLB is pushing toward an international draft, possibly as soon as 2014. The 120 international slots would provide an easy stepping stone to transition to a four-round international draft next year.

According to Baseball America’s sources, that’s one possibility that has been discussed, although the length of the draft and whether the picks would be hard slotted are still unknown. After the international draft, teams would likely be allowed to sign nondrafted international free agents up to a certain amount, similar to the June draft for domestic players.

Where the specific slot values do come into play for the 2013-14 international signing period is with trades. While teams have not been given final details of the trade rules, clubs know they are allowed to trade for up to 50 percent of their allocated pool space. So if a team has a $2 million pool, it can trade for another $1 million in pool space. However, a team can’t just trade for $1 million—it has to trade for a slot value, or multiple slot values.

We’ll dig into the specifics of trading pool space in another story soon. For now, here are the 120 preliminary slot values, which are expected to be finalized within the next few weeks:

2013-2014 INTERNATIONAL BONUS SLOTS
Slot Team Slot Value
1 Astros $3,246,000
2 Cubs $2,873,000
3 Rockies $2,542,800
4 Twins $2,250,700
5 Indians $1,992,100
6 Marlins $1,763,100
7 Red Sox $1,560,500
8 Royals $1,381,200
9 Blue Jays $1,222,400
10 Mets $1,082,000
11 Mariners $1,009,500
12 Padres $942,000
13 Pirates $878,900
14 Diamondbacks $820,000
15 Phillies $765,100
16 Brewers $713,900
17 White Sox $666,100
18 Dodgers $621,400
19 Cardinals $579,800
20 Tigers $541,000
21 Angels $534,000
22 Rays $527,000
23 Orioles $520,100
24 Rangers $513,400
25 Athletics $506,700
26 Giants $500,100
27 Braves $493,600
28 Yankees $487,200
29 Reds $480,800
30 Nationals $474,700
31 Astros $468,400
32 Cubs $462,300
33 Rockies $456,400
34 Twins $450,400
35 Indians $444,600
36 Marlins $438,800
37 Red Sox $433,000
38 Royals $427,400
39 Blue Jays $421,900
40 Mets $416,400
41 Mariners $410,900
42 Padres $405,600
43 Pirates $400,300
44 Diamondbacks $395,100
45 Phillies $390,100
46 Brewers $385,000
47 White Sox $379,900
48 Dodgers $375,000
49 Cardinals $370,200
50 Tigers $365,300
51 Angels $360,500
52 Rays $355,900
53 Orioles $351,200
54 Rangers $346,700
55 Athletics $342,100
56 Giants $337,700
57 Braves $333,400
58 Yankees $329,000
59 Reds $324,700
60 Nationals $320,500
61 Astros $316,300
62 Cubs $312,200
63 Rockies $308,200
64 Twins $304,200
65 Indians $300,100
66 Marlins $296,300
67 Red Sox $292,500
68 Royals $288,600
69 Blue Jays $284,900
70 Mets $281,200
71 Mariners $277,500
72 Padres $273,900
73 Pirates $270,300
74 Diamondbacks $266,800
75 Phillies $263,400
76 Brewers $259,900
77 White Sox $256,500
78 Dodgers $253,200
79 Cardinals $249,900
80 Tigers $246,700
81 Angels $243,500
82 Rays $240,300
83 Orioles $237,200
84 Rangers $234,000
85 Athletics $231,000
86 Giants $228,100
87 Braves $225,100
88 Yankees $222,100
89 Reds $219,200
90 Nationals $216,400
91 Astros $213,000
92 Cubs $209,700
93 Rockies $206,400
94 Twins $203,300
95 Indians $200,100
96 Marlins $197,000
97 Red Sox $193,900
98 Royals $190,900
99 Blue Jays $187,900
100 Mets $185,000
101 Mariners $182,100
102 Padres $179,300
103 Pirates $176,500
104 Diamondbacks $173,800
105 Phillies $171,100
106 Brewers $168,500
107 White Sox $165,800
108 Dodgers $163,300
109 Cardinals $160,700
110 Tigers $158,200
111 Angels $155,700
112 Rays $153,300
113 Orioles $150,900
114 Rangers $148,600
115 Athletics $146,300
116 Giants $144,000
117 Braves $141,700
118 Yankees $139,600
119 Reds $137,400
120 Nationals $135,300

International | #International rules #July 2 2013

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