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Braves, Nationals, Padres Expected To Exceed 2016-17 International Pools - This Is Sports Zone

Under the current rules regarding international players, any player under the age of 18 is allowed to be signed by any major league baseball team after July 2nd, and each team is given a certain amount of bonus money. Any team that exceeds their bonus pool allotment is subject to a 100% tax on overages above 10% as well as up to a two-year timeout (after a 15% excess) on future bonuses to any player eligible over $300K. Currently, ten teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are serving their two-year timeout, and will be on the sidelines for the period beginning July 2nd of 2016.

With the collective bargaining agreement set to be renegotiated in 2017 and the possibility of an international draft, which would do away with the current system looming, this coming period represents what could be the last chance for teams to take advantage of the old system and spend big on international players to restock their form system before the changes are implemented. Baseball America is reporting that the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres are all set to splurge on the international market once the signing period begins.

While none of the teams know exactly how much cash they’ll have to spread, the general spending capacity won’t come as a surprise since it’s based on prior year’s record. Teams can also acquire individual spending allotments from other clubs via trade, and with many organizations unable to spend all of their slots, there should be plenty available. But a club can only increase its total allocation by 50%, so even adding in some new capacity presumably won’t keep the teams from avoiding the penalties.

The 2016 market has been extremely aggressive in Venezuela already, a sharp reversal from the 2015 signing class, while things have progressed at a slower place in the Dominican Republic. One big variable is the Cuban market, with several talented Cuban players available who are or will be subject to the pools.

Atlanta, especially, is expected to attack the market. The rebuilding organization is lining up a series of signings that could equal or exceed the Yankees’ spree from 2014-15, which set the record at over $17 million given to international players, and saw them net 10 of Baseball America’s Top 30 international prospects . Their biggest targets are top-shelf infield prospect Kevin Maitan and fellow Venezuelan standout Abrahan Gutierrez, a catcher.

Meanwhile, the Nats are looking to build on their success at low-budget international signings with some real cash at their disposal. A pair of middle infielders — Dominican Yasel Antuna and Venezuelan Jose Sanchez — are near the top of their list.

Likewise, the Padres have not only been laying the groundwork for a series of deals with Dominican and Venezuelan players in the $1MM range, but are eyeing a major strike on the burgeoning market for young Cuban talent. Badler says that the San Diego organization is attempting to convince several players who may soon become free agents to wait for the new signing period to ink their deals.

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