The first round of MLB Draft signings are in, and the Dodgers have made some decent progress so far. They’ve signed six of their 19 selections, and one looks like he’s heading to school.
Before we get into the details, here’s a refresher course on the bonus pool rules.
Every pick in the draft has a slot amount allotted to them. A player can be signed for more or less than the recommended amount, but a team cannot exceed its bonus pool without incurring penalties. If a draftee does not sign, teams lose that signing bonus from their overall pool (i.e., if Daulton Rushing doesn’t sign, the Dodgers’ bonus pool would decline by $1,950,900). Bonuses for undrafted free agents aren’t capped at $20,000 anymore, which is good! Like a post-10th-round signee, anything over $125,000 will count against the pool.
Here are how the overage penalties shake out.
|Overage (percentage)||Penalty (taxed amount)|
|0-4.99||75 percent tax on overage|
|5-9.99||75 percent tax on overage|
Loss of 2023 1st-round pick
|10-14.99||100 percent tax on overage|
Loss of 2023 1st- and 2nd-round picks
|15-plus||100 percent tax|
Loss of 1st-round picks in 2023 and 2024
Most teams live in the 0-4.99% range. The Dodgers can go up to $211,069 (5 percent, less $1) over their allotted slot amount of $4,646,700 without losing a draft pick. No team has ever exceeded this bonus pool since this system was implemented in 2012, and it isn’t going to happen now.
And we can’t forget about the accounting trick.
Teams have until Aug. 1 (Monday) at 2 p.m. Pacific time to sign their draftees.
Freeland signing for what is basically slot value is a good get for the offensive-minded middle infielder.
Puerto Rican shortstop Nicolas Perez, the youngest player the Dodgers drafted, would be a nice get for LA.
Wagner is foregoing his commitment to Louisville to be the biggest 6th-round over-slot signee the Dodgers have had in the Billy Gasparino era. He got roughly what amounts to late-3rd round money, so it shows how highly the Dodgers think of the switch-hitting third baseman.
Young and Reid were always going to be cheap signs, and the Dodgers stick with their standard $2,500. Of course, Tony Gonsolin was a cheap sign (also $2,500) and he’s an All-Star. He’s the exception for sure, but the Dodgers have the best player developmental system in the game, so we’ll see if they become anything.
The Dodgers also signed 17th-rounder RHP Payton Martin.
His $125,000 bonus won’t count against the Dodgers’ pool.
Undrafted free agent RHP Connor Godwin also got a $125,000 bonus.
And it appears 20th-rounder SS Carter McCulley appears to be heading to school.
They can sign him for up to $225,000 (with no pool penalty) before next year’s draft, since he’s going to a junior college (despite the “State” in the school’s name).
More draft signings will come rolling in. With Wagner signed, they should — pretty comfortably — be able to get all nine of their top selections signed before the deadline.