As you may recall. the rules governing international free agency in the MLB changed under the most recent collective bargaining agreement. The current signing period, which began last July 2nd, is the first under the new guidelines, and the upcoming signing period will follow suit. Here’s how things are broken down:
- Most teams get a bonus pool of $4,983,500 that they can use to sign international prospects. Some teams classified as “small market” or “small revenue” can receive pools of either $5,504,500 or $6,025,400. The bonus pool amounts are hard capped, but the allotments for each tier are up across the board from the 2017-18 period.
- Teams can make trades to acquire up to 75% of their bonus pool allotment. So, if a team has a bonus pool of $4,983,500 mil, they can add an additional $3,737,625 mil by trading with other teams to make their total pool amount roughly $8.72 mil. A team can deal away 100% of its bonus pool, if it is so inclined.
- Bonuses of $10,000 or less are exempt from bonus pool totals. Players that are 25 or older and have played six or more years in a foreign baseball league are also exempt from bonus pool restrictions.
Our Milwaukee Brewers received a Competitive Balance Round B pick in this year’s amateur draft, meaning that they have received the largest pool allotment of $6,025,400. Five other teams will also receive that amount, while eight teams will fall into the middle-tier of $5,504,500 for their pool. Two teams - the Cardinals ($500K) and Phillies ($1 mil) - lost money from their bonus pools due to signing Qualifying Offer free agents. Eight clubs - the Braves, Astros, Athletics, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds, and White Sox - are still under restrictions from breaking the previous set of international free agent rules and won’t be able to sign an individual player for more than $300K during this signing period. Those teams seem like likely candidates to deal away chunks of their bonus pools.