Pro Baseball

MLB draft spending up six percent this year

2013-07-17T18:06:00Z 2013-07-17T21:28:06Z MLB draft spending up six percent this yearRonald Blum AP Sports Writer nwitimes.com
July 17, 2013 6:06 pm  • 

NEW YORK | Teams spent $219.9 million on signing bonuses for selections in baseball's amateur draft this year, up six percent from $207.8 million at a similar point last year.

The rise followed a 10 percent drop from a record $233.6 million in 2011, the last year before restrictions imposed by baseball's collective bargaining agreement with players.

Eleven teams went over their signing bonus pools -- one more than last year -- and will pay a total of $1.8 million in tax, according to preliminary figures compiled by Major League Baseball. But no club went over by more than five percent and reached the second level of penalties, which would cause a club to forfeit its next first-round draft pick.

Baseball's labor contract assigns a slot value to all picks in the first 10 rounds, with the amount starting at $7,790,400 this year for the first pick and decreasing to $135,300 for the final selections of the 10th round.

If a team fails to sign a player, the amount of that slot is deducted from its pool. Just eight players in the first 10 rounds didn't sign, including one first-rounder: high school pitcher Phillip Bickford, selected by Toronto with the 10th overall selection.

For the 11th through 40th rounds, the amounts of bonuses exceeding $100,000 per pick are added to a team's total for calculating the tax.

A club exceeding its pool total faces escalating penalties, starting with a 75 percent tax on the overage, graduating to a 100 percent tax and the loss of its next two first-round picks.

Exceeding their thresholds were Atlanta ($156,950 tax), the Cubs ($383,925), Kansas City ($59,025), the Dodgers ($190,050), the Yankees ($85,500), Philadelphia ($55,125), Pittsburgh ($73,350), St. Louis ($243,375), San Francisco ($169,950), Seattle ($220,500) and Texas ($170,775).

Last Friday was the deadline for draft picks to sign, except for players who have exhausted eligibility for college baseball -- a group that may sign up until a week before next year's draft. The players with the later deadline totaled $1.6 million in bonuses for the 2012 draft.

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