MoneyYou may recall that, pursuant to the new (I suppose this year I can probably stop calling it “new”) Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were limited to a $2.9 million pool to spend internationally in the 2012-13 international free agency year (kicks off July 2). If a team went over that limit, they were subject to penalties similar to those levied on teams who exceed their bonus pool in the Draft.

You may also recall that for this upcoming international free agency year, the pools were going to be tiered based on record the previous season. In other words – cha-ching – the Cubs have the second most money to spend, having finished with the second worst record last year.

According to Baseball America, the Cubs will have $4,557,200 to spend internationally this year, second only to the Astros, who get a touch over $4.9 million. The full list of bonus pools is available at that link, but a couple things immediately jump out at me: (1) the total pool amount for all teams is down markedly from last year (when each team got $2.9 million), and (2) only eight teams are getting at least $2.9 million this year. That means the benefit to the Cubs of having a larger pool this year is disproportionately strong, given that 22 teams will have less to spend this year than they had last year. Indeed, the teams at the bottom of the list are getting just $1.8/$1.9 million. Sometimes, it’s good to suck.

That BA piece goes on to note the various ways that teams can add players that aren’t subject to the pool, and Ben Badler writes in a separate piece that teams will be able to exceed their bonus pool by as much as 5% without suffering serious penalties (just a tax). That is similar to the Draft, and, if the Cubs need that extra 5%, it will be available to them.

In Badler’s article, he writes about the looming possibility of an international draft, which would obviously throw a great deal of this into upheaval. Although there will not be an international draft this year, the possibility remains for 2014. The deadlines to be aware of on that front: MLB must make a decision on an international draft by June 1, and, if they decide to do it, the Player’s Association must object – if they intend to veto the international draft – by June 15.

It’s expected (well, by me) that MLB will decide to implement an international draft, but I’m not sure what the Players will do. On the one hand, the nature of a draft drives down costs for teams, which they would then theoretically put to use in big league payroll. On the other hand, these are future members of the association that the MLBPA is holding down. Will they really be eager to do it?

In the end, I tentatively expect we’ll see an international draft in 2014, one that is a separate entity from the traditional, MLB Rule 4 Draft.

  • ETS

    “these are future members of the association that the MLBPA is holding down. Will they really be eager to do it?”

    The current CBA really holds down the pay of future mumbers of MLBPA. We all saw how much resistance the MLBPA put up for that.

  • JulioZuleta

    Houston’s active MLB payroll is $19 M. It’s draft and international budget is about $16 M. I’m all for rebuilding, but I think that is absolutely unacceptable.

    • JulioZuleta


      • Rebuilding

        Agreed. There really needs to be a payroll floor. At that level revenue sharing is probably covering their MLB payroll

        • JulioZuleta

          Yeah, they shouldn’t get a dollar of rev sharing. Houston is all excited about the future, but we’ll see if the new owner is willing to fork over contracts when the time comes. Remember, he received a $50 M deduction from his purchase price for agreeing to move to the AL. The guy bought a team at a pretttyyy reasonable price, and is paying his team the same amount of money the Cubs paid Carlos Zambrano to pitch for another team last season.

  • MichiganGoat

    So much has changed with the new CBA and we can only hope that our FO is better prepared to find ways to maximize thier value.

    • Wilbur

      It seems to me that the current FO is better prepared by a huge margin over the previous FO, and I am a guy who liked Hendry, but saw him out performed by FOs which relied less on old school assessment and heavily on the new tools. The business of baseball had left him behind.

      What is not clear is what margin, if any, exists between the current FO and the other leading franchises. Who would argue that San Francisco, St Louis, Tampa, Texas and several other teams that any of you could name are not excellently prepared themselves.

      The Cubs FO has a lot of potential and their first twelve months of prospecting talent and adding midlevel MLBers has been very exciting, but I couldn’t say today they are any better than any of the other very good FOs and it will be years before anyone can objectively evaluate them. In the end, it may purely be luck that differentiates them as excellent, good or mediocre. Luck in the sense of what diamonds in the rough blossom to stardom and hopefully few of the blue chippers are duds.

  • Dynastyin2016

    Well, this post begs the question. Anybody know of any superstar international players we’ll be interested in?

    • Kyle

      We’ve been tied to some SS, I think Venezuelan? Supposed to be fairly polished for his age but not eye-popping tools.

    • Edwin

      *raises the question. Not begs the question.


  • BluBlud

    Question…..Would we want the Cubs to break up this 4+ million and sign a couple of good players, or would we rather them blow the whole thing on the best available player who has a high chance of being a star? Not thinking of anybody specific, just a generic question. I’m curious what people think.

    • Kyle

      Split it up. We’re talking about 16 y/os for the most part. Way too far from their primes to be reliable, so the scattershot approach is best.

      • JulioZuleta

        What’s nice is that with $4.5M, they can afford to go after a $2M player, and still have plenty left over to dish out.

        • terencemann

          I think somewhere it was posted that Badler thought the Cubs were favorites to sign a $2MM shortstop. There’s plenty of money to spend after that. Don’t forget that they signed Castro for 45k.

  • Chris

    So far the definitive quote of the Ricketts/Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod era:

    “Sometimes, it’s good to suck”

  • caryatid62

    Between the changes in the CBA, the FO’s insistence on avoiding high dollar FAs until the team is “ready,” and the Cubs’ lack of talent at the high minor level, people need to realize that this team is not going to be a real contender for several seasons more, at best. If this team is realistically challenging for a playoff spot before 2016, I’ll be truly impressed.

    In the meantime, we’re going to have to put up with garbage upon garbage upon garbage.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs are aligning their Business Operations with their Baseball Operation, both expected to come togethe and blossom in 2019.

    • terencemann

      I chuckled at this. You could probably go with 2099 just given the way things usually shake-out for the Cubs. Best laid plans and all…

  • roz

    Because I love to nit-pick, I’m not sure that “$4,557,200 million” makes any sense. It should probably either be $4.5572 million, or just $4,557,200.

    • A.J.

      Great minds and all that. 😀

  • A.J.

    $4,557,200 million seems like an awfully HUGE number; wouldn’t it just be $4,557,200??


    • Brett

      Haha. That’s what happens you start typing it out as 4.5xxx and then change mid-stream.

      • A.J.


      • hansman1982

        Or maybe the Cubs really do have $4.5 trillion to spend on IFA.

        Although, I think most of that would be wasted.

        • A.J.

          Buy ALL the IFAs!!!!!!

          • terencemann

            The Dominican Republic’s GDP was only 55 billion last year…

        • JulioZuleta

          Use what’s left to buy the White Sox, move them to Alaska, and then sell them. Cardinals too. And Packers. And I guess the Heat.

          • Spriggs

            PERFECT!!!!! The post of the year! Every single one is right on the money and no obvious team is left off.

            • JulioZuleta

              Anchorage could use a shot in the arm. Sending those four there would do the trick.

              • Spriggs

                Or maybe we just blow it up and be done with it.

                • hansman1982

                  Send them there, THEN blow it up.

                  • Spriggs

                    Exactly. And we are happy guys again.

  • MichaelD

    While the MLBPA has shown no reluctance to sell out future players for current players, I would imagine they would want something in return. My expectation is that the MLBPA would concede this as part of the negotiations for the next CBA. Why give it up for free now when you can use it as a chip not to get a salary cap in the future?

  • Stinky Pete

    Vaguely related, I chose to ask here as opposed to dig back to find a more appropriate post.

    I am not advocating this, I do not think it’s a good idea. I still wanted to present it just to see if there are arguments for it.
    If the Cubs “fail to sign” their second round pick, I believe they would get the 3rd pick next year. It’s early, but they look like a top 5 pick next year.

    #2 pick this year or 2 Top 5 picks next year?

    Again, I am against this. I would never pass on a #2 pick. Just curious if there would be any arguments for this.

    • Cubbie Blues

      That is very interesting. I really don’t know what I would do. It may depend on what the college pitchers look like this year vs. next.

    • terencemann

      I take it you meant first round pick this year. Mark Appel could fall to them because the Astros will sign another under-slot guy at 1-1. That would be a good arm to have as he probably would have the same or earlier ETA to the majors as the Cubs prospects from the last couple years (I should hope, anyway). It doesn’t appear that there is a super prospect coming this year or next.

      • terencemann

        Also, I only mention the ETA as a good thing if he’s still the best player to take with that pick. It’s lucky if it works out. They aren’t going to draft someone based on readiness.

    • andoalex

      Losing all of that pool money also has to be taken into consideration. If they truly don’t LOVE any of the prospects at number 2 this year I could potentially see Theo/Jed doing this. It would be a tough, tough sell to the fan base however.

      • hansman1982

        You don’t “lose” the pool money. It was going to get spent on the draft choice anyway.

      • TheDondino

        Between Appel and Gray, I don’t see the FO passing with the 2nd pick.

  • John (ibcnu2222)


    If they have a draft, how would it effect a player like Yu Darvish or Fujikawa? Obviously they came over with different situations?


  • wvcubsfan

    Anyone else catch the discussion regarding the possibility of an international draft during the WBC? It was during one of the PR games and some of the higher ups there (Pena’s, Alou’s, etc) thought that adding PR to the Rule 4 draft severely hurt the baseball in the country.

    I do know they were talking about the DR specifically in regards to all of the academies there and wondering if there was a draft if the clubs would continue to operate them, and if they didn’t whether many of the players that came from those academies would have ended up there in the first place.

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