The new CBA — what the top 10 picks are worth

I’m getting more and more details about how the new CBA will work in terms of the Draft and international signings and I promise to share them all with you as the picture becomes more clear. Some of that will come in the form of stories and I’ll use the B3 space for tidbits here and there. And believe me, there’s a lot. Truthfully, no one knows just yet how this will impact anything with the Draft and might not until everyone goes through it a time or two. Yes, there will be some bumps, especially with the market correction in the first year, but I think it too soon to presume certain teams will be ruined/destroyed/greatly hampered by this new system.

Anyway, one bit of info I wanted to pass along now.  Those of you following this saga know that the way it will be set up will be with each team having  a certain “Signing Bonus Pool” — an amount of money a team is allowed to spend in the Draft without being charged a tax or the forfeiture of draft pick(s). Teams picking at the top of the Draft will have a larger pool. In 2012, the Astros will have the largest pool at $11.5 million. That figure comes from adding up the values of every pick they will have, as of now, in rounds 1-10.

I have been able to obtain the values assigned to the top 10 picks in the Draft. It doesn’t give the complete picture — I hope to get more information soon — but you can see how MLB valued the top of the Draft:

1 — $7.2 million
2 — $6.2 million
3 — $5.2 million
4 — $4.2
5 — $3.5
6 — $3.25
7 — $3
8 — $2.9
9 — $2.8
10 — $2.7

This doesn’t mean a team picking No. 4, for example, can’t go over $4.2 million to sign that pick, but it all goes toward that aggregate pool.  As a comparison, take a look at what the Nos. 1-10 picks got in 2011. Keep in mind, some of these were Major League deals, which are no longer allowed. But in any deal — even a two-sport contract spread over five years — would be included in total against that year’s pool.

1 — Gerrit Cole: $8 million
2 — Danny Hultzen: $6.35
3 — Trevor Bauer: $3.4
4 — Dylan Bundy: $4
5 — Bubba Starling: $7.5
6 — Anthony Rendon: $6
7 — Archie Bradley: $5
8 — Francisco Lindor: $2.9
9 — Javier Baez: $2.65
10 — Cory Spangenberg: $1.863

Not too far off, right, with an exception or two. And the Diamondbacks giving Bradley $5 million is more than the $3 million value for the No. 7 pick now, but they saved in the aggregate with Trevor Bauer’s deal. In the new system, those two picks are valued at $8.2 million. Bauer and Bradley got $8.4 million.

This is far from a complete picture, obviously, and I hope to paint that as time goes on and more details become known. But it’s a little bit of a look at the fact that perhaps this isn’t as doomsday-ish as some early reactions made it out to be.

Much, much more to come.


It will be interesting to see how this plays out in negotiations, because it really opens the door for a great deal of acrimony – even more than in the past. If the new system included hard slotting, teams, agents and players would know exactly what they had to work with; there’s not much to negotiate or disagree on, except perhaps term. Now, players and agents that play hardball and force a team over the pool limit open the door to very public criticism, especially if their negotiations result in the loss of a draft pick. Imagine the pressure on a player who not only gets a huge bonus, but also effectively cost a team two to three top draft picks because of the penalty for going over the limit. On the flip side, team draft budgets used to be arbitrary; if they wanted to make a splash or draft on the cheap, that was their prerogative. Now, MLB assigns to each team a very public limit to their spending. Teams will be hard-pressed to try saving money in the draft now with the pressure to use all available funds to acquire talent. Fans are bound to look at it like the speed limit: you can go lower, but what’s the point when you’re in a race, and sometimes there’s a value to breaking the limit. It’s an interesting new dynamic, and without hard slotting but with pool limit penalties, there’s perhaps more directly assignable blame when things go sideways.

Very interesting, thank you

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where can we find information on what every teams “pool” is?

I will try to post that information in the near future. Thanks.

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