Yesterday brought final word on the long-awaited penalties for the Braves’ amateur signing infractions. Among other things, the Atlanta organization has been stripped of a dozen prospects who were brought in through improper means.
Many of those players were part of a highly-regarded crop of international talent, so they will be of keen interest to other teams. That’s particularly true now that they have had their first taste of the minors, increasing the information available to make an evaluation. MLB will also stage a showcase at the end of the month for these young players.
New information, of course, isn’t always a good thing. Kevin Maitan, the top name on the list of newly-minted free agents, certainly did not boost his stock with a .220/.273/.323 showing in the Appalachian League. Those with Baseball America subscriptions will certainly want to read an updated scouting report on Maitan from J.J. Cooper, who also provides a look at the best of the other prospects who have now been set free.
So, what’s the process for signing these players? We learned some elements of the process yesterday, and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo provides a more complete look at the ad hoc rules that will apply here. Here’s a breakdown:
- The players — who get to keep their original bonuses but cannot be represented by the agents that negotiated their original contracts — will be subject to international signing pool restrictions but are otherwise free to sign with any organization.
- MLB teams will be allowed a fresh $200K of bonus pool space to work with to sign any of these prospects. They may elect to draw from either their current signing period pool allocation or that of the 2018-19 period (but not both).
- All MLB teams but the Braves can sign the prospects between December 5th of this year and January 15th of the next. Any players that do not sign within that period will no longer be eligible to receive a signing bonus. The Braves are eligible to pursue any still-unsigned prospects (without a bonus offer) beginning on May 1, 2018.