Oakland overspends on international players
The Oakland Athletics did something quite uncharacteristic on Saturday. They splurged on players, which is odd coming from a team that usually doesn’t spend money.
Saturday marked the beginning of the international signing period that runs each year from July 2 until June 15 of the following year. The best prospects out there are usually signed on the second, though other players do become available throughout the year and so the signing period continues until June.
As things stand today, each MLB team is given an initial $700,000 plus four bonus slots that are then adjusted up or down depending on how the team finished in the previous season. For example the Philadelphia Phillies ended up with the highest bonus pool at $5.6 million. The Athletics were given $3,818,700 to spend this season.
The A’s uncharacteristically spent $6.7 million on five players, one of which was in the top-five on MLB.com’s Top 30 international prospects list.
Penalties come along with exceeding the team’s spending limits. The A’s exceeded theirs but it will be nothing like the penalties that the Boston Red Sox incurred by circumventing some of the rules last season. MLB banned Boston from signing an international player for the next year.
However, the Red Sox were not the only team penalized. Any team that spends up to five percent over their initial number has to pay 100 percent tax; however, teams that spend more than that are not allowed to sign an international player for over $300,000 in the following year to two years, depending on how far over the limit they went. They must also pay the 100 percent tax.
This year quite a few teams were kept from being able to sign a single player for more than $300,000, meaning that they would not be in the running for the highest-ranked players.
The A’s knew the players they wanted, saw that this was their opportunity to sign some top-level talent and seized it.
For more information on the five players the Athletics’ signed on Saturday and what their penalty for crossing their international bonus pool limit you can read the rest of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:
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