Blue Jays News: MLB Draft and International Pools released


Yesterday, MLB teams were informed on their money allocations for this year’s draft and international free agent pools. The Jays were given $5.411 million for their draft pool with $2.324 in their international free agent pool.

The Houston Astros were awarded the highest pool for the draft after not signing first overall pick Brady Aiken last season. The Jays will make their first pick with the 29th selection, losing out on their earlier selection with the signing of Russell Martin.

While the Jays may not be in the best position entering draft day, July 2nd may represent a more fruitful opportunity for the Jays front office to sign young talent. This is the beginning of the International Free Agent calendar.

The Jays have the 17th highest spending limit according to the report but this ranking is quite misleading. According to a lot of reports from Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs, the Jays have already reached a verbal agreement with potential the top hitter in the class, Vladimir Guererro Jr. for $3.2 million.

This is approximately $876,000 (or 37%) over their limit. According to MLB rules, if a team exceeds their pool by more than 15 per cent they will be forced to pay a 100 per cent tax on the surplus and will not be allowed to spend more than $300,000 on any player for the next two spending periods.

Consequently, when the Jays ink the aforementioned deal with Guerrero, they will be out of major international spending for the next two years. That is unless they acquire more pool money from teams like the Red Sox, D-backs, Rays, Yankees and Angels who all are barred from this year’s International market because of previous signings.

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While some may view this as a bad thing, it’s really not. It means that the Jays are likely to spend much more and be the bullies at the international table which could land them some real kids with talent you may not be able to find with the 29th pick.

The leading candidate, who may or may not be available come July 2nd, is Yadier Alvarez. The 18-year-old Cuban is quite raw talent wise but is said to have Brady Aiken like talent. That should tell you something despite the fact that Aiken wasn’t signed as the first overall pick last year. His arsenal currently features a 98 mph fastball, plus slider and a surprisingly good change up with the potential to become a plus offering as well. His command still needs some work but he is only 18.

The price tag on his head is said to be in the neighbourhood of $10 million, not completely of the Jays range given the fact that the average first overall pick goes for around $8 million anyways. If the Jays were allowed to spend in the next two international periods, they would likely be given $5 million to work with so it may be worth going all in on a prospect who has ace potential somewhere down the road.

All in all, while Toronto may not be in the best position for the draft this year, they’re definitely not in a bad one for the international signing day. The other timely point to this approach is that the current CBA is set to expire on December 1st, 2016. That means the Jays will miss out on only one of the two international signing periods if the MLB elects to try their hand with the international draft as some have speculated.

If 2015 isn’t the year the Jays can take Brendan Rodgers with the top pick, maybe they can conceivably take Guerrero Jr. and Alvarez to restock the farm system for tomorrow.Crazier things have happened.

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