Over the weekend, Travis Reitsma, with the help of the Up And In Podcast, compared the timing of the impending Jorge Soler signing to Red Dawn. With the new collective bargaining agreement in place, beginning July 2nd, teams will be under a strict limit when it comes to signing International free agents.
For the 2012-2013 signing season, all teams will receive a $2.9 million limit for international signings by the Signing Bonus Pool. After that, different amounts, in the range of $1.8 million to $5 million, will be given out based on the previous season’s winning percentage. At that time, teams will be allowed to trade portions of their pool allowance.
As with the amateur draft, if a team’s international spending exceeds their assigned Signing Bonus Pool by 0%-5% they will be forced to pay a 75% tax on their overage; if they exceed it by 5-10%, the team will not only be taxed 75% on the overage, but also lose the right to sign more than one international player to a bonus that exceeds $500,000 in the next signing season; if they exceed it by 10-15%, the team will be taxed 100% of the overage, and again, lose the right to sign any international player to a bonus that exceeds $500,000 in the next signing season. Teams that spend in excess of 15% of their Signing Bonus Pool will be penalized with a 100% tax and not be allowed to sign any international player to a bonus that exceeds $250,000 in the next signing season.
Therefore, Jorge Soler, a much praised 20 year old Cuban outfielder who is eligible to sign with a team ahead of the July 2nd restrictions, represents the last opportunity for teams to freely spend on a talented international free agent without incurring the wrath of the collective bargaining agreement. If rumours are true, that opportunity will most likely be taken today, with about half the teams in baseball drooling over the prospect.
And with good reason, according to Baseball Prospect Nation:
Truly classic right field profile. Offers plus-plus raw power that has a chance to translate if the hit tool comes together. Good athlete with an impressive body. Runs well in the outfield and should be a plus defender with a plus arm. Many of the nuances of the game are in various stages of development and he will require refinement for all his tools to play at once in the US. Raw ceiling could be a .275-.280 hitter with 30 home runs in the heart of the lineup, all with very good outfield defense.
The outfielder is expected to receive a Major League contract worth more than $20 million over four years, and while any time you invest that much money in a player that not only requires additional development, but is also completely unproven, it’s a risk. However, it’s a risk that several teams would love to take, and we’ll find out later today which team does.
And The Rest
Humberto Quintero slants his eyes behind Bruce Chen during an interview, while wearing a Negro League throwback uniform. Perfect Timing. [Big League Stew]
Chris Perez’s new save celebration is everyone’s favourite. [Old Time Family Baseball]
Bob Geren was once on Family Feud. [Baseball Prospectus]
An interview with Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. [FanGraphs]
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker would like to tell us all about the thought process of RBI men. [MLB.com]
Does anyone need a Chicago Cubs “water pipe?” [Hall Of Very Good]
Apparently, Tim Lincecum needs a change, not a change up. [FOX Sports]
Your 2012/2013 free agent class. [Yahoo! Sports]
Was Jose Valverde throwing a spit ball? [HardBall Talk]
St. Louis Cardinals fans want Jon Jay to get well soon. [Viva El Birdos]
Austin Kearns is a kitty cat. [NotGraphs]
Alfonso Soriano is making the best of his role as trade bait, and the Chicago Cubs are thankful. [Sporting News]
Finally, after a weekend in baseball, it’s probably worthwhile to take a look at the standings as they sit now. [MLB.com]