The Jays announced last night, via a team release, that they have signed 50th overall pick, Matt Smoral. Jim Callis of Baseball America reported that the deal is for $2-million, which is $1-million above the slot for pick number fifty, making him the fourth player to receive a bonus in excess of $1-million above slot, according to Callis.
It can hardly be viewed as a stretch, since we’d been hearing the $2-million figure on Smoral since the early reports that he’d already signed, and since Keith Law said of him on a Baseball Today podcast I quoted two weeks ago, that “he’s almost the perfect candidate to just go to school, to reestablish his value, and he comes out in three years and then he’s a top ten pick. That same guy, coming out of college, is in contention for the first overall pick.”
It does, however, take away from the limited funds left in the Jays’ bonus pool, with 22nd pick Marcus Stroman, and second-rounder Chase DeJong still to sign.
We know from Gregor Chisholm’s draft primer at BlueJays.com that the club began with $8.831-million in their pool, and there is an additional $441,539 available due to a wrinkle in the CBA. Clubs will lose future draft picks if their total spending exceeds the bonus cap by 5%, but if they’re above the limit by between zero and 5%, they simply incur a tax. It’s a hefty tax– 75%– but probably won’t be enough to deter a club like the Jays from getting a deal done. The potential loss of a draft pick, on the other hand, almost certainly will. I’ve added the $441,539– one dollar less than 5% of their $8,830,800 pool– to their total, which makes for $9.272-million they can spend safely.
John Lott of the National Post passes along figures from Baseball America that tell us the Jays spent just $31K on the leverage-less college seniors they drafted in rounds four through ten. Smoral’s bonus takes $2-million, while I wrote two weeks ago that Callis had reported compensation pick Mich Nay as signing for $1-million, and 17th pick DJ Davis for $1.75-million. Callis has also tweeted that Tyler Gonzales signed from $750K, he reported at BA that Anthony Alford signed for $750K as well.
So… that’s $6.281-million spent, if my math is right, leaving $2.991-million to sign 22nd pick Marcus Stroman and 61st pick Chase DeJong, who have $1.8-million and $620K slot bonuses respectively– or an extra $571K with which to go over slot on either these guys, or some of the guys they took after the tenth round who may require bonuses in excess of $100K (in which cases, the overage also counts against the pool).
The deadline for signing is July 13th, and with Marcus Stroman a college junior, he’ll not have a whole lot of leverage should he choose to not sign and go back into the draft next year. So, it would seem to be in his best interest to just take the damn money, but as we saw last year with Tyler Beede, sometimes these kids make decisions that are kinda baffling (though apparently Young Beedah’s crew disagreed with the Jays over his medicals, so there’s probably more to that story than we often give him credit for).
Speaking of Beede, when he failed to sign with the Jays last year, the deadline was on August 15th. Worse was that under the old system teams, especially those going over MLB’s slot recommendation, waited until the last minute to make signings official, fearing reprimand and/or dirty glares from Bud Selig’s office. This year, in one of the few actual positive things to come from the draft-related elements of the new CBA, is the fact that players who sign quickly are able to participate in some pro ball right away– as Anthony Alford and DJ Davis did last night, making their debuts for the Jays’ Gulf Coast League affiliate!
Alford played in centre, going 1-for-4 with a single in his pro debut, while Davis played left, had a single himself, struck out twice, going 1-for-3, and putting up the first caught stealing of his pro career for good measure.
More mind-fuckingly, however, is the fact that their fellow outfield-mate, right fielder Jesus Gonzalez, went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and was born in nineteen fucking ninety-five! 1995!!!!?!
Here’s some MLB.com video on Smoral, for those of you who were too hammered to remember draft night…
Smoral screencap via MLB.com.