Amateur Signing Bonuses: Athletics

Let's take a trip to the Bay Area and continue our amateur signing bonus series…

  1. Michael Ynoa, $4.25MM (2008)
  2. Mark Mulder, $3.2MM (1998)
  3. Grant Green $2.75MM (2009)
  4. Renato Nunez, $2.2MM (2010)
  5. Michael Choice, $2MM (2010)

The Athletics are undeniably a small market team, but they spend like financial powerhouses when it comes to young talent. Ynoa, formerly known as Michel Inoa and arguably the most hyped Latin America pitching prospect of all-time, had a deal in place with the Yankees for $2.7MM before agent Adam Katz stepped in and raised the price. He ended up signing with Oakland for the largest bonus ever given to an international prospect, nearly doubling the previous record (Wily Mo Pena's $2.44MM). Ynoa missed a big chunk of the 2009 season with elbow soreness, then managed just nine innings (six hits, five runs, four walks, eleven strikeouts) this season behind needing Tommy John surgery that will cost him most of 2011.

Mulder was the second overall pick in 1998 reached the big leagues less than two years later. He pitched to a 5.44 ERA in 154 innings as a rookie in 2000, then finished second in the Cy Young voting thanks to a 3.45 ERA, 6.0 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 229.1 innings the very next season. Mulder was a horse for the Athletics (3.92 ERA in 1003 innings from 2000-2004) before being dealt to the Cardinals for a package highlighted by a 24-year-old righty named Dan Haren.

Green (13th overall) and Choice (tenth) are Oakland's last two first round picks. Green hit .318/.363/.520 in his full season as a professional in 2010, Choice .266/.377/.587 in 130 plate appearances after signing. Nunez was the team's top international signing this summer, agreeing to his deal on July 2nd, the day the signing period began. He'll begin his career next season. The A's also signed another top Latin American prospect this year in 16-year-old catcher Argy Raga. His bonus is unknown, however.


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13 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Athletics"


4 years 9 months ago

Is it just me, or is there very little difference in the amounts of these bonuses from one club to another? I haven’t put them all side by side, but it just seems that they’re pretty close in terms of the amounts.

4 years 9 months ago

Pay attention to the years as well as the dollars. A $2MM bonus in 2010 isn’t even close to the same thing as a $2MM bonus in 2000. That was mind-boggling back then.

TapDancingTeddy
4 years 9 months ago

I’m for set bonuses so teams don’t have to play games with guys like Scott Boras. Nobody knows what any of these HS and College players are going to do, so it is in the best interest of the game to set a high watermark on each pick and not let any team exceed it.

I know people think that Yankee fans are heartless, but it bothers me to see a small-market team (or a team down on its luck) get the first pick in the draft and have to cough up 10MM for some kid who may never see the majors.

PookieGonzales
4 years 9 months ago

Ahh but then our big market teams couldn’t take advantage of the broken draft system ;).

4 years 9 months ago

You may get your wish in the next CBA when Bud Selig is going to push hard for a hard “slotting system” for draft picks. The MLBPA is being sold the idea that less money to draft picks that have never played in the majors will free up more money for major league salaries. I doubt that the union buys this line- it really just creates more profits for the billionaire owners, but the players will probably agree to the slotting system because it’s no skin off their noses and they’ll extract some sort of concession in exchange. Selig is also expected to push for an international draft.

licky_boomboom_down
4 years 9 months ago

You do know that most of the owners in baseball can afford to spend like big market teams. Don’t pity them because they’re in a small market. Most MLB teams have the money to sign high profile free agents and draft picks, they just choose not too. Whether it be that they’re cheap or disinterested, they do have the money.

TapDancingTeddy
4 years 9 months ago

Many of the small market teams can spend more. None of them can spend anything like the top 5 or 6 teams. There’s a huge difference in revenue from last to first in baseball.

4 years 9 months ago

Very true, Mike, but I’m just saying that it seems most clubs’ top five bonuses seem to fall within a pretty close range of each other. It’s interesting to see a Mike Mulder from 1998, or anyone from that long ago, make the list at all.

Guest
4 years 9 months ago

Ynoa seems like a ghost ever since he was signed. I haven’t even heard his name until now.

myname_989
4 years 9 months ago

He’s been hurt for a while, and had Tommy John Surgery in 2010, so you probably won’t be hearing about him for a while.

myname_989
4 years 9 months ago

It’s a shame Mark Mulder could never really put his career back together.

baycommuter
4 years 9 months ago

They signed Ynoa so young they had to wait for him to stop growing before he could get Tommy John surgery. Who knows how he comes out of it?

4 years 9 months ago

This one of the way small market could make some cash. It’s like the stock market; risks all over the place!

Next year, you will hear 10 big names in the international market: Amael Gonzalez, Johan UreƱa, Alvie James, Harold Arauz, Braulio De Leon, Pedro Matias, Iosif Bernal, Victor Quiroz, Julio Arosemena and Ronald Guzman!

Prepare your pockets Small Market teams, these could be your ticket to high tradings in 2015-2020.

I agree the system is somehow imperfect, but so is any marketplace.