Major League Baseball released the bonus pool allotments for each team for the 2013-14 signing period, which runs from July 2,2013 until July 1, 2014. The teams with the worst record in the 2012 season, the Houston Astros, got the highest amount to spend under the new system. Last year the Pirates and every other team had a $2.9mil pool to spend on International players, with some leeway for slightly more to be spent without incurring penalties. This year, because they finished with the 13th worst record in baseball, their pool for the upcoming period is now just $2,426,000.
The Pirates spent approximately $2,000,000 in International bonuses during the ongoing 2012-13 signing period, at least for the signings that have been announced, so they could still could have another $1mil to spend before the new signing period starts. While that would make it seem like the lower pool this year doesn’t affect them much, teams like the Astros, Cubs and Rockies all have much more than last year to spend, so they can take more of the bigger names out of the equation.
Ben Badler has posted the penalties for teams going over their bonus pool during the 2013-14 signing period and it has an interesting twist. The penalties are different based on whether or not MLB institutes an International Draft for 2014.