Today marks the opening of the 2015-16 international signing period, during which so-called “July 2” prospects can begin inking deals with MLB clubs. Every MLB team has been allocated a series of bonus slots, all of which may be traded, with certain restrictions. Baseball America provides a tally of each team’s total available pool this year. Clubs that spend over their allotment face escalating penalties, ranging from 100% taxes on overages to a two-year ban on $300K+ international bonuses (for going over 15% above the total allocation). This year, the team with the top overall pool allocation — the Diamondbacks ($5,393,900) — is ineligible to spend more than that amount on any single player, and is expected to deal away some of its capacity since it cannot put it to full use. Likewise, the Angels, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees face that limitation due to budget-busting deals in the 2014-15 July 2 period. And numerous additional clubs are expected to incur future signing limitations in the coming signing period. While most of the players subject to the signing rules are a long ways away from the big leagues, there are undoubtedly impact players among them — some of whom could come up in trade talks long before they’re close to the majors.
Here’s the latest on the market, which will gear up quickly, as well as some key resources to get acquainted with:
- As has been widely expected — and as Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs reported several months back — the Dodgers are set to sign Cuban righty Yadier Alvarez to a $16MM bonus, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links). Passan does caution that it’s best to wait until Alvarez formally signs to declare his market closed. Los Angeles has just over $2MM in spending capacity, meaning that it would start off with a $14MM overage tax on its bill and take on a two-year signing ban for adding Alvarez alone.
- MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez just provided one major market shift, reporting that the Giants appear to be in the lead for shortstop Lucius Fox, who landed third overall on Sanchez’s list of the thirty best international prospects available on the market.
- Baseball America’s Ben Badler provides his final top-thirty prospect list, with detailed scouting reports on all those players ranked as well as notes on the teams favored to sign them. He also breaks down each MLB team’s expected overall approach heading into July 2.
- Likewise, McDaniel has produced his final pre-signing board, which also includes his own assessments of many of the most highly-regarded names and projections of their landing spots. While Badler rates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. first overall, McDaniel places him fourth, giving the top spot to the aforementioned Alvarez.