SoxProspects News

June 12, 2016 at 8:44 AM

Welcome to the Signing Period!

Now that the 2016 First Year Player Draft is in the books, the signing period is upon us. As we saw over the last few years, under the "new" CBA draft rules the signing period is much different that it was in previous years. As most of you know, the 2012 CBA established a signing bonus cap for each team and pushed up the signing deadline from mid-August to mid-July. This year's signing deadline is 5:00 pm ET on July 15, 2016. The bonus cap is determined by the number and placement of each team's selections.

The bonus cap sets an aggregate limit for a team to spend on its selections in the first ten rounds, and also limits teams from spending over $100,000 on players taken after the 10th round (the excess on any late round bonuses will count against the bonus pool). Boston's cap is $6,997,400 this year. If the club exceeds its pool: (1) by 0-5%, it will be charged a 75% tax on the excess; (2) by 5-10%, it will pay the same tax and will also lose its first round pick next season; (3) by 10-15%, it will be charged a 100% tax on the excess and lose its 1st and 2nd round picks next season; and (4) by more than 15%, 100% tax on the excess and lose its next two first round picks.

These are obviously harsh penalties, making it highly unlikely that the Red Sox will go more than 5% over the pool limit this year. However, the team has shown that it is willing to pay the requisite tax and go up to 5% over the cap, which would place the team's spending limit at about $7,347,270. The first $100,000 spent on any single bonus after round 10 would not count against that limit. One other wrinkle to remember is that if Boston fails to sign any of its picks from the top ten rounds, the team's pool will be reduced by the slot amount for the unsigned player's draft position. Here are the bonus slots for each of Boston's top picks:

1st round (No. 12): $3,192,800
2nd round $1,232,800
3rd round $697,300
4th round $501,300
5th round $375,500
6th round $281,100
7th round $210,700
8th round $180,300
9th round $168,400
10th round $157,200

At first blush, it appears that all picks from the second through tenth rounds appear to be signable. With regard to the first pick, there have been mixed, unconfirmed messages. If you're reading this, you probably know that Boston selected prep left-hander Jason Groome with the #12 overall pick, and that Groome was rated as the top player in the draft by many publications. Some have speculated that he slid due to signability or maturity concerns. Meanwhile, after being drafted by the Red Sox, Grooome stated:

“I’m going to get together with my adviser and that’s what we’re going to discuss. Money doesn’t matter to me. I’m just excited for the next chapter in my life and I can’t wait to get started. I have a chance to play for my favorite team. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Still, it is expected that Groome could end up getting top 5 money, which would put his bonus somewhere in the ballpark of $4 million.

After the 10th round, the Red Sox selected several players who would likely require well over a $100,000 slot bonus. Eleventh-rounder Nick Quintana seems like a possible sign, maybe in the $500,000 range. Other tough signs that seem to be in the less-likely-to-sign-than-not category include Cam Shepherd, Tyler Fitzgerald, Christian Jones, Jeff Belge, and Austin Bergner.  Belge is the best of that bunch, ranked 68th in the entire draft class by Baseball America. He will most likely honor his commitment to St. Jonhn's.

We'll be sure to keep you updated as signings occur throughout the signing period. There will also be projections and discussion in the 2016 MLB Post-Draft Discussion Thread.

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