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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baseball America: International Reviews: Tampa Bay Rays

As a result, the Rays won’t be able to sign anyone next year for more than $250,000 and probably won’t make any major international splashes until July 2 either because of the tax. Going well beyond the bonus pool is a curious move, but the Rays did pull in a considerable amount of talent, including arguably the two best 16-year-old pitchers on the market. Given that their 90-win season last year will give them one of the lower bonus pools for the 2013-14 signing period, which many scouts believe is shaping up to be a down year for international talent, perhaps it will be a worthwhile gambit.

This is interesting, I had no idea the Rays had been blowing past the international spending cap like this. I believe a primate recently asked why a team wouldn’t spend excessively one year on international free agents to load up on top-end talent and then accept that the next year they would be very limited in what they could do. The Rays haven’t gone massively over budget but it appears they are making use of that suggested strategy.


Jim Wisinski Posted: February 12, 2013 at 12:30 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: international, prospects, rays

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   1. John Northey Posted: February 12, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4367733)
Given the penalties given out to the Rays I say go for it if I'm a ML team. Try to see which year will be strong and which will be weak so you take advantage at the best possible time. Then when you go over don't do a Tampa, go totally nuts and grab everyone you can. Blow $10 million ($18 after penalties) and get the top 10 players available. Force MLB to create an international draft due to this, but grab the top talent for yourself first. I think the Rays were very smart to do it this year before others decide to do it as well.
   2. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: February 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4367769)
I believe a primate recently asked why a team wouldn’t spend excessively one year on international free agents to load up on top-end talent and then accept that the next year they would be very limited in what they could do.

I did, for one.

For what it's worth, Tampa hasn't gone _that_ nuts with spending. If we accept BA's pre-signing period rankings as gospel, they landed the #3, #6, and #14 guys (of the top 20). That's impressive, but they haven't exactly tried to buy up the market (which would be expensive from both a supply v. demand aspect, as well as the tax). Their share of top players will be less than what we've recently seen with Toronto, Texas, and Seattle (to name three) in the pre-pool era. Also, the timing is notable - this year, all teams had the same pool, that's changing to one that varies by success (which would hurt Tampa with the top dudes). Even with the penalty, they'd still be able to sign all the other guys they've tabbed since July (bonus < 250K), so it's not going to cripple their Caribbean operations or anything.

I think this is a better strategy with the int'l market than with the domestic draft - where I think I'd try to stick within the league's parameters (after you account for the buffer).

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