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MLB Draft 2015: Oakland A's bonus pool and signing deadline

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The Athletics now have the task of signing the next infusion of amateur talent into the professional ranks. What are the rules and regulations governing signing draft picks? What is the Oakland A's draft bonus pool?

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The Oakland Athletics have drafted 40 men from colleges and high schools in the United States and Canada, and now the hard work of signing these future stars and scrubs begins. The amateur draft bonus pool rules limit the amount of money teams can spend on bonuses for drafted players. Every dollar spent on players drafted in the first 10 rounds, plus any amount above $100,000 spent on a bonus for a player after the first 10 rounds, is charged against this limit.

How do you calculate Oakland's draft bonus pool?

Teams are assigned bonus amounts based on where they're drafting. For example, the first overall selection, used by the Arizona Diamondbacks to draft Dansby Swanson, has an assigned value of $8,616,900. Teams don't spend that money on that spot necessarily, spreading the pool money around their selections by going above and below the assigned slot value based on player demands and leverage. However, teams only get the benefit of that draft slot if they sign the player drafted in that slot. If the Diamondbacks fail to sign Swanson, for example, they would forfeit the $8.6 million they are permitted to spend under the rules.

If the Oakland Athletics sign all of their first 10 selections, the A's will have a bonus pool of $5,444,100:

Rd Ovr Player School Pos B/T Class DOB Bonus Pool
1 20 Richie Martin Florida SS R/R JR 12/22/94 $2,214,000
2 63 Mikey White Alabama SS R/R JR 9/3/93 $979,600
3 97 Dakota Chalmers North Forsyth HS RHP R/R HS 10/8/96 $586,900
4 128 Skye Bolt North Carolina CF S/R JR 1/15/94 $435,300
5 158 Kevin Duchene Illinois LHP L/L JR 12/10/93 $325,900
6 188 Bowdien Derby San Diego State RHP L/R JR 2/24/94 $244,000
7 218 Kyle Friedrichs Long Beach State RHP R/R 5S 1/22/92 $183,000
8 248 Nick Collins Georgetown C L/R JR 4/13/94 $168,400
9 278 Jared Lyons Liberty LHP L/L SR 5/18/93 $157,300
10 308 Steven Pallares San Diego State CF R/R SR 4/26/93 $149,700

Players with the greatest leverage are those than can walk away and, in the case of a high school player, elect to go to college or, in the case of a college junior, return for their senior year.

High schooler Dakota Chalmers, for instance, is committed to one of his home state's colleges, the University of Georgia. Some mock drafts had Chalmers going to the Atlanta Braves late in the first compensation round, the thinking being that Chalmers might sign with Atlanta because of that home state connection. The A's may have to go over his slot value to sign Chalmers, requiring savings elsewhere, or forego that part of the pool entirely.

What is the deadline to sign?

For high school players and college players with eligibility remaining, teams have until Friday, July 17 at 2:00 PM Pacific Time to sign drafted players. College players with no more eligibility can be signed until a week before the June 2016 draft.

In the first 10 rounds, Richie Martin, Mikey White, Dakota Chalmers, Skye Bolt, Kevin Duchene, Bowdien Derby, and Nick Collins must be signed by July 17.

What if the A's don't sign a player?

If a player drafted in the first two rounds does not sign, the A's would be compensated in the following year's draft with a selection in that round one below the spot they were assigned, so long as they offer a bonus of at least 40% of the player's assigned draft slot bonus. If a player drafted in the first three rounds does not sign, the A's would be compensated with a draft pick after the third round but before the fourth round.

For example, if the A's fail to sign third round selection Dakota Chalmers despite offering at least $234,760 as a bonus, they would be given a pick after the end of the third round of the 2016 draft.

What if the A's go over the limit?

You are allowed to spend over the limit, but doing so comes with severe consequences:

  • 0-5 percent over: 75% tax to MLB on amount exceeded,
  • 5-10 percent: 75% tax plus forfeiture of 2016 first round draft pick,
  • 10-15 percent: 100% tax plus forfeiture of 2016 first and second round draft picks,
  • More than 15 percent: 100 % tax plus forfeiture of 2016 and 2017 first round draft picks.

We'll be keeping a close eye on the announced signing bonuses as the July 17 deadline for players with college eligibility remaining approaches.