June 3, 2012

Dollars for draftees: New rules limit what a big-money team can spend

Although the playing field is more level, the Red Sox still expect to draft quality players this week.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

DRAFTING ANEW

WHAT: Major league baseball draft

WHEN: Monday (first and supplemental rounds), Tuesday (Rounds 2-15), Wednesday (Rounds 16-40).

TELEVISION: MLB Network and mlb.com

MAJOR LEAGUE DRAFT Q&A

What's new? To make it more fair for smaller-market teams, teams are being told how much money they can spend on draft picks. Plus, there are fewer rounds (40) and an earlier deadline (July 13) to sign draft picks.

How much can teams spend? It depends on where their picks are. MLB has assigned a value to every draft pick in the first 10 rounds.

How many picks does Boston have on the first day? Three. Boston has the 24th pick, and received the Phillies' 31st pick and a supplemental pick (37th) when Philadelphia signed free agent Jonathan Papelbon.

How much can the Red Sox spend? Boston has a $6.884 million pool to spend on its 12 picks in the first 10 rounds ($1.75 million for No. 24, $1.575 million for No. 31, down to $125,000 for its ninth- and 10th-round picks).

If a team does not sign a player in the top 10 rounds, can it use the money for another player? No. If a player isn't signed, the recommended signing bonus for that pick is subtracted from the pool.

What about players drafted after the 10th round? They can be signed for up to $100,000. Anything over that amount will count against the pool.

What happens if a team goes over the pool amount? It is penalized. If a team goes over by up to 5 percent of its pool amount, it is heavily taxed. If a team goes more than 5 percent over, it is taxed and begins losing draft picks in 2013 (a first-rounder for going 5 to 10 percent over; and subsequent picks for going over 10 percent).

-- Kevin Thomas

Under the mid-August signing deadline, players who signed late had only two weeks left in the minor league seasons, and many didn't play at all until the following year.

"There's a benefit to getting their feet wet, getting the initial transition out of the way," Cherington said. "They can come to spring training (the next year) and hit the ground running."

After the draft, look for teams to sign undrafted players, because the draft has been cut from 50 to 40 rounds.

PENALTIES

Major league teams don't have to follow the bonus rules, but it would be costly. For going up to 5 percent over a team's pool (in the Red Sox case, that would be mean spending up to $344,200 more than its pool money), there is a heavy fine.

If a team goes over by more than 5 percent, the fines continue, plus teams lose draft picks, starting with the first round in 2013.

"We're going to try and work within the rules," Cherington said. "I don't foresee a scenario where we would be willing to give up a pick."

OTHER MONEY MATTERS

If a team fails to sign a draft pick in the top 10 rounds, the suggested bonus for that pick is subtracted from the pool. For instance, if Boston doesn't sign it's third-round pick, $400,500 would be subtracted from its pool.

This prevents teams from dumping lots of cash on one player and drafting others with no intention of signing them.

Another change eliminates major league contracts for draft picks. This prevents a team from giving a modest signing bonus, then offering a multi-million dollar salary.

The team with the biggest pool this year is Minnesota ($12.368 million). The Twins have 13 picks in the first 10 rounds, including the second overall pick, slotted at $6.2 million.

The Astros have the top pick, which MLB slots at a $7.2 million bonus.

For Boston's top three picks, the MLB slots are $1.75 million, $1.575 million and $1.394 million. It drops off from there, to $565,000 for the second round.

The Red Sox don't have to pay those exact amounts. They just can't go over their total pool ceiling.

DEPTH, BUT FEW STARS

Sawdaye said there is "some depth" in the 2013 draft.

"I'm not sure there is that top-end talent (of previous years). But we're going to find some pretty good players."

The top players who are expected to be taken well before Boston picks include Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, high school outfielder Byron Buxton of Georgia, high school shortstop Carlos Correa of Puerto Rico, Louisiana State pitcher Kevin Gausman and University of Florida catcher Mike Zunino.

ARE THE RED SOX INTERESTED?

Mock drafts from various sources have the Red Sox picking a variety of players.

We're guessing the Red Sox could go after college players, with a few high school players in the early rounds.

Here is a group that might interest the Red Sox:

Marcus Stroman, Duke pitcher (Tom Gordon comparisons).

D.J. Davis, high school outfielder (speedster).

Stephen Piscotty, Stanford third baseman/outfielder (Cape Cod League batting leader).

Zach Eflin, high school pitcher (plus fastball and change-up).

Tanner Rahier, high school third baseman (raw, aggressive hitter).

Brian Johnson, University of Florida pitcher/first baseman (solid lefty).

Barrett Barnes, Texas Tech outfielder (potential power).

Mitch Haniger, Cal-Poly outfielder (another Bryce Brentz?).

Nolan Fontana, University of Florida shortstop (leader).

James Ramsey, Florida State outfielder (fast, hits for average).

The first and supplemental rounds will take place Monday. The following 39 rounds are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

 

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