Nice summary of the new CBA, presented by e.e. cummings.
rule 4 draft
every team will now get a slot-based “pool” for how much they can spend in the top 10 rounds, calculated relative to how many picks they have and how high those picks are. the cardinals, with 6 picks in the top 100 will have a relatively generous cap. the cardinals can spend up to the cap on all their picks through the 10th round. it doesn’t matter how it is distributed within that group; they can spend $100,000 on a first round pick and $1m on a 10th round pick. as long as they don’t spend more in total in the top 10 rounds than is in their pool, there will be no penalty. the ideal is that teams will pay slot for everybody. whether teams obey that kind of logic is yet to be seen.
there are huge penalties for paying more than is in your “pool.” a 5% overage is not a huge deal. let’s say the cardinals got $5m to spend in the top 10 rounds. if they go over by $200,000 (4%), they’d be taxed a further 75% of that $200,000, which would be $150,000. However, if they go over by more than 5%, they get the 75% tax AND they lose next year’s first round draft pick. go over by 10% and the penalty is a 100% tax and loss of next year’s first and second round picks. go over by 15% and you lose your first round pick next year and the year to follow. i read the graduated penalties as giving teams room for small errors or oversights, but imposing very stiff penalties for anything beyond minor discrepancies.
beyond the top ten rounds, you can give anybody a bonus of up to $100,000. anything beyond that counts against your pool fund.
what will be interesting to see is if teams game the system or, if they do, how they do so. as i said, the concept is that teams will pay slot in an orderly way. since there’s a finite pool, any extra money you pay to one prospect must come out of the slot money dedicated to another. but that leaves room to shift salary from one slot to another or even not to sign a player in a given slot, in favor of giving money which should’ve gone to him to another draftee. (ed: this is incorrect. although it does not appear in the summary cited above, baseball america states that when a player fails to sign, the money for that slot comes out of the pool. this woud seem to make a ground-up negotiating process, starting with the 10th round player and moving up to ninth, etc. almost mandatory.)
will teams take a chance in later rounds on signability players and just fail to sign some other players? (ed: as noted above, they’d lose the slot money if a player failed to sign; however the team could draft 30th round talent in early rounds and offer them far below slot talent - or as one commenter at bucsdugout suggested, offer pittances to college seniors, to keep money for above-slot signings elsewhere). if next year’s austin wilson falls to round 8 or even round 12, will some team get creative with their pool funds? i suspect most teams will follow the designed plan, since the risk of not doing so seems pretty high. however, some team may find an irresistable prospect falling in the draft and shift money around to sign him.
the signing deadline has moved up substantially (mid-july) to ensure that players sign fairly quickly—which should be easy to accomplish, there being less room to negotiate as most teams will hew closely to slot offerings….