MLB Finalizes International Bonus Pools

Major League Baseball has finalized its international bonus pools and the “slot values” that comprise them for the 2013-14 international signing period, which begins on July 2.

The numbers are identical to the preliminary slot values and bonus pools that MLB sent to teams last month, so while there aren’t any changes, teams now know the exact dollar amount they have in their pool allotment.

While each team has a $2.9 million bonus pool for the current 2012-13 international signing period, bonus pools for the 2013-14 signing period are tiered based on reverse order of 2012 major league winning percentage. To calculate the bonus pool values, MLB created 120 “slot values,” with each team getting four slot values. Those slot values are added together, plus another $700,000, to get each team’s bonus pool for the 2013-14 signing period.

The Astros will have the highest international bonus pool at $4.94 million, while the Nationals have the lowest at $1.85 million. While teams are given “slot values” for the coming signing period, teams can spend their bonus pool money however they want, so the number that primarily matters is the overall bonus pool figure.

Teams are allowed to trade for up to an additional 50 percent of their allocated bonus pool, a process that requires trading the individual slot values.

Teams can exceed their bonus pools but face harsh penalties for doing so, penalties that will depend on whether there is an international draft in 2014. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the commissioner’s office must inform the MLB Players’ Association by June 1 whether it intends to include international players into a draft, after which the union has until June 15 to either accept or veto such a plan.