MLB draft spending up 6 percent this year

Major League Baseball amateur draft spending up 6 percent this year

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Teams spent $219.9 million on signing bonuses for selections in baseball's amateur draft this year, up 6 percent from $207.8 million at a similar point last year.

The rise followed a 10 percent drop from a record $233.6 million in 2011, the last year before restrictions imposed by baseball's collective bargaining agreement with players.

Eleven teams went over their signing bonus pools — one more than last year — and will pay a total of $1.8 million in tax, according to preliminary figures compiled by Major League Baseball. But no club went over by more than 5 percent and reached the second level of penalties, which would cause a club to forfeit its next first-round draft pick.

Baseball's labor contract assigns a slot value to all picks in the first 10 rounds, with the amount starting at $7,790,400 this year for the first pick and decreasing to $135,300 for the final selections of the 10th round.

If a team fails to sign a player, the amount of that slot is deducted from its pool. Just eight players in the first 10 rounds didn't sign, including one first-rounder: high school pitcher Phillip Bickford, selected by Toronto with the 10th overall selection.

For the 11th through 40th rounds, the amounts of bonuses exceeding $100,000 per pick are added to a team's total for calculating the tax.

A club exceeding its pool total faces escalating penalties, starting with a 75 percent tax on the overage, graduating to a 100 percent tax and the loss of its next two first-round picks.

Exceeding their thresholds were Atlanta ($156,950 tax), the Chicago Cubs ($383,925), Kansas City ($59,025), the Los Angeles Dodgers ($190,050), the New York Yankees ($85,500), Philadelphia ($55,125), Pittsburgh ($73,350), St. Louis ($243,375), San Francisco ($169,950), Seattle ($220,500) and Texas ($170,775).

Last Friday was the deadline for draft picks to sign, except for players who have exhausted eligibility for college baseball — a group that may sign up until a week before next year's draft. The players with the later deadline totaled $1.6 million in bonuses for the 2012 draft.

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