02 July 2018

International Signing Period is Open

You may not know about the July 2nd opening of the International Signing period for the 2018-2019 season.  It began today at 9 a.m. and ends next year on June 15th.  You should not feel bad about not knowing about it even though every single team in baseball effectively spends millions on it, including more than a million on single players.  Typically, the only teams who do not spend a million or more on a single player are teams who are punished due to rules infractions, overspending, signing big name free agents, or the Orioles.

For decades, after a great deal of money was spent fruitlessly in the 1990s, the Orioles have operated with basic ignorance of the Latin American and Caribbean markets.  These past two years together, the Orioles have spent less than a million dollars on signing international free agents.  The biggest get last year was centerfielder Ricardo Castro, a 150k pickup from Venezuela.  Most teams would regard Castro as their sixth to eighth best pickup.  It is effectively as if the Orioles would choose to not draft anyone in the first ten rounds of the domestic drafts, leaving those players for others to take.  To think of it another way, if Castro was in the domestic draft, he would probably be signable for 30-50k.

Right now the Orioles sit with 5.5 MM in signing bonus pool money.  They can trade away all of it in 250k allotments.  They were not able to trade away those allotments until July 2nd at 9 a.m.  In the past, they dealt them out to help bolster deals to get players like Bud Norris or to stock the minors with quality organizational filler.  There is some hope that the Orioles, who have so much money and not much tied up in promised deals (teams tend to agree to contract terms before July 2nd with players even though this process is technically against the rules), with all the bonus money may be able to go after Cuban defectors like Victor Victor Mesa. V2 Mesa would be on par with a first round talent and would be ready for the high minors.  It would be a solid signing and add a player with top notch defense, speed, and potential gap power.

Other aspects of the international signing period to know:

  • The part of the CBA that covers this is Attachment 46.
  • Signing bonuses less than 10k do not count against the pool.
  • A club may trade away all their pool allotment.
  • A club may acquire up to 75% more than their original allotment (the 2019/20 period will reduce this to 60%).
  • Teams cannot trade allotments for cash.
  • Players who are older than 25 and played in foreign professional leagues do not count against the pool.
  • MLB office identifies 150 special players as level two targets. These players undergo drug testing, MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans.
  • It is against the rules to provide any favors to player's family or trainer, to promise MLB debut dates, or agreeing to sign other players in a package deal.


Pip said...

Schoop was an International signing, albeit in 2009.
Do you know what happened to make the front office stop being active in the international market?

Matt Kremnitzer said...

This is worth a read: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-orioles-may-have-a-good-reason-for-not-pursuing-ohtani/

Jon Shepherd said...

Schoop was not a big money signing.

What happened was that Angelos spent millions on international amateurs in the mid to late 90s and nothing came of it.

Jon Shepherd said...

This was written a few years back. And...man...could have used some editing.


Unknown said...

Peter hasn't found someone he trusts according to some baseball insiders (Law).

Anyone happen to see the article from Schmuck regarding "Whispers of an Orioles relocation".

It discusses a myriad of factors to include city safety, the MASN lawsuit, cable television subscription numbers falling.

This all being said - I can't imagine MLB letting this happen, you would literally have a direct correlation of the Nationals addition leading to an Orioles subtraction. Future expansion would be non-starter for the rest of the league owners seeing as an expansion team could pull the marketshare from their team.

Have a great fourth and stay safe of these DMV roads!

Unknown said...

There cheap. Seen in the normal draft as well. If they can skimp 5.5 million they will. Kinda sad at least they should do the spread out the bonus plan. Sign a ton of projectable kids for 100 to 500k. If even one every 2 years becomes a ML player they make a huge profit.