When the MLB First-Year Player Draft begins on Monday, June 4, teams will now have to consider the league's new bonus pool rules. Based on draft position and the amount of scheduled picks, organizations have been given individual suggested cap limits to be used when signing players selected in the first 10 rounds. Bonus limits have always been suggested by the league (and generally ignored by teams), but now there will be penalties when these limits are exceeded.
As a Chicago Cubs fan, I am not very concerned about the rules. The team's limit is set at $7.9 million, nearly $1.5 million more than the team spent last season on the first 10 rounds. Furthermore, all of the teams will have to control spending, so bonus amounts should be fairly comparable to last season's totals. It may be more difficult for a team like the Boston Red Sox, for example, who spent over $10 million in 2011 but will be allowed less than $7 million in this year's draft.
As a fan of Major League Baseball, I hope these bonus caps serve the purpose of leveling the playing field slightly. With penalties consisting of fines and forfeited draft picks, richer teams will be more likely to offer amounts that smaller-market clubs can compete with, helping these teams sign their players as well.
Equally as important to me, as a fan of college baseball as well, is that we may now see more talent at the college level. Pro teams may not have as much leverage to entice high school players to skip college now. Then again, in some cases, teams may draft a high school player higher than necessary to justify offering a larger bonus.
I expect Cubs president Theo Epstein to have a great debut draft with the team and am excited to see who is chosen with the sixth overall pick and two supplemental round selections. I am also hoping Chicago focuses more on college talent who may be easier to sign under the new cap rules and may need less time to develop. As fans know, this team needs as much help as it can get.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago Cubs
- Chicago Cubs