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Oakland A’s sign 3 of their new 2020 draft picks

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RHP Jeff Criswell (2nd round), OF Michael Guldberg (3rd), RHP Dane Acker (4th)

4th-rounder Dane Acker
Photo provided by Oklahoma Athletics

The 2020 MLB draft is in the books, so the next step is for the Oakland A’s to sign the players they picked. The team announced Monday that they’ve agreed to terms with three of their five picks.

Leading the way among that trio is 2nd-rounder Jeff Criswell. The college righty gets a $1 million bonus, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle, which is around $210,000 under-slot. The terms for 3rd-rounder Michael Guldberg are not yet known, but 4th-rounder Dane Acker gets his full slot at $447,400, says insider Jim Callis. (Update: Guldberg went under-slot at $300,000, says Callis.)

Oakland still hasn’t officially signed their 1st-round pick, high school catcher Tyler Soderstrom. However, there is little doubt that the two sides will reach a deal, and it’s expected to be for around $3.3 million, according to insider Jon Heyman. The slot value for that No. 26 overall pick is $2.65 million, so Soderstrom going that far over will mean someone else needs to take less than their slot, like Criswell did.

Here’s where the A’s bonus pool stands right now.

Oakland A's 2020 draft: Signing bonuses
Rd Name Pos $Slot $Sign $Diff
1 Tyler Soderstrom C 2,653,400 -- --
2 Jeff Criswell RHP 1,214,300 1,000,000 (-214,300)
3 Michael Guldberg OF 593,100 300,000 (-293,100)
4 Dane Acker RHP 447,400 447,400 0
5 Stevie Emanuels RHP 333,300 -- --
- Subotal (so far) - 2,254,800 1,747,400 (-507,400)
- Total - 5,241,500 ??? (-507,400)
- Maximum (+5%) - 5,503,575 ??? (-769,475)

Teams can exceed their pools by up to 5% before incurring serious penalties like losing future picks. Therefore, the A’s can exceed their pool by up to $262,075, for a total of $5,503,575.

Plugging that into the current board, Criswell’s under-slot bonus means the A’s now have $476,375 worth of wiggle room. However, they’ll need upward of $700,000 to fit in Soderstrom, so someone else will need to take less than their own slot. Moving into speculation, Guldberg is a prime candidate to fill that bargain role, as the A’s appeared to reach on his pick — he was chosen in the third round (No. 98 overall) despite being absent from all Top 200 draft boards, partly because his value was suppressed by a college injury.

(Update: That’s exactly what happened, and Guldberg’s under-slot deal means the A’s now have $769,475 of margin to work with in signing Soderstrom and Emanuels.)

No team has ever gone over that 5% threshold in the eight years under this bonus system, so the bottom line is to not worry about the math because the A’s will make sure it all works out in the end. The question is not whether everyone will sign under the cap, but rather what the breakdown will look like of their individual paydays. The deadline for teams to sign their picks is Aug. 1.

As a reminder, here’s the full 2020 draft class, including five undrafted free agents who signed for up to $20,000 each and don’t count against the bonus pool. Click each player’s name for more info about him. So far, among the undrafted prospects, the A’s have only officially announced the signing of Simoneit.

  1. Round 1: Tyler Soderstrom, C, high school (CA)
  2. Round 2: Jeff Criswell, RHP, Michigan
  3. Round 3: Michael Guldberg, OF, Georgia Tech
  4. Round 4: Dane Acker, RHP, Oklahoma
  5. Round 5: Stevie Emanuels, RHP, Washington

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