Analyzing The Cubs’ International Expenditures

The Cubs have been extremely active on the international free agent market in the past two days, signing Gleyber Torres ($1.7MM), Jefferson Mejia ($850K), Erling Moreno ($650K), Johan Matos ($270K) and reaching agreement with Eloy Jimenez ($2.8MM). If those figures are accurate, the Cubs have $6.27MM in international expenditure.

As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted yesterday (Twitter link), the Cubs began the international free agency period with a bonus pool of $4,557,200. They acquired an additional $388,100 in the Scott Feldman trade with the Orioles and $784,700 from the Astros in the Ronald Torreyes trade before sending $209,700 to the Dodgers in the Carlos Marmol swap. All told, they gained an additional $963K in bonus space.

That total brought their bonus pool to $5,520,300 — which is a significant ways short of the $6.27MM they've spent following the Jimenez signing.That would mean the Cubs are over their allotted bonus pool by $749,700 — an overage of 13.6 percent. Baseball America's Ben Badler reported back in April that the penalty for exceeding a bonus pool by 10-15 percent would be a 100 percent tax on the overage as well as the inability to sign a player for more than $500K in next year's signing period.  The penalty for exceeding the pool by 15% or more is a 100 percent tax on the overage and a $250K per player limit next year.

If the reported signing bonuses aren't 100 percent accurate, the Cubs could be less than 10 percent over. However, barring a significant inaccuracy, they would still fall into the 5-10 percent overage bracket, which would prevent them from signing a player for more than $500K in 2014-15 but require only a 75 percent overage tax.

The other thing to consider is that the Jimenez deal isn't official as of yet. It could be possible for the Cubs to acquire additional bonus money in trades, as they haven't technically spent the $2.8MM on Jimenez.

Per the new CBA, teams are allowed to acquire up to 50 percent of their initial bonus pool. That would be a total of $2,278,600 for the Cubs, meaning they can still acquire an additional $1,315,600. That would be enough to cover the remaining difference and keep the Cubs from incurring limitations on next year's spending.

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