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July 20, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Alex Anthopoulos Always Checks His Math

by Ben Lindbergh

Under the terms of the new CBA, teams that exceed their annual allotment for amateur draft picks signing bonuses by more than five percent forfeit their first-round pick for the following year. That's a pretty harsh penalty. Up to five percent, though, they simply pay a 75 percent tax on the overage. That might come to a few hundred thousand dollars, which isn't insignificant, but it's nothing compared to the expected value of a first-round pick. So, to recap: going over by less than five percent: potentially costly. Going over by more than five percent: potentially really‚Äč costly.

Over at Baseball America, Jim Callis added up the amount of money each team spent on its picks and compared those totals to the teams' bonus pools. He found that two teams spent 100 percent of their pools down to the dollar, and nine others exceeded their allotment. However:

No club exceeded their bonus pool by more than 5 percent, which would have resulted in the loss of a 2013 first-round pick. The Blue Jays came within $341 of doing so and are one of 10 teams that must pay a 75 percent tax on their pool overage.

The Blue Jays squeezed every iota of competitive advantage they could out of the new CBA's system. As a result, they came within $341, or one incorrect key press on a calculator, of forfeiting their first-round pick for next season. That's not much margin for error. I'm guessing they checked their math more than once.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

12 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Richard Bergstrom

Maybe the 341 is a pad for a fluctuating currency exchange?

Jul 20, 2012 15:57 PM
rating: 2
 
gdragon1977

I'd be surprised if any of the contracts were paid out in something other than USD though, and the pool total is calculated in USD too. But the Jays do usually draft some canucks, maybe one of them actually wanted to be paid in good ol' brownbacks instead.

Jul 20, 2012 16:21 PM
rating: 0
 
Sacramento

I think I remember reading someone's contract over at Cots a few years ago where there was some kind of clause about the difference between US and Canadian taxes.

Jul 20, 2012 16:37 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

341 is such an odd number which is why I think it has to do with some kind of currency exchange or fluctuation. Why not an even 100 or 500 or 1 dollar?

Jul 20, 2012 17:17 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

'x plus $639' sounds a lot better than 'x' to agents.

Jul 20, 2012 18:54 PM
rating: 1
 
BurrRutledge

$659, too.

Jul 20, 2012 20:11 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

So, why not "x plus 650" or even "x plus 640"

Jul 20, 2012 21:38 PM
rating: -1
 
Sean

Because when you're negotiating multiple contracts simultaneously, you're not really concerned about getting it all to a round number. It's easy to look at it now and ask why the Blue Jays didn't up their existing offer to a player by a buck or 11 or 341 once they knew they had the money, but none of those amounts would be noticeable/significant enough for an agent or the team to worry about it in active negotiations. It's just so ... trivial.

Jul 21, 2012 12:51 PM
rating: 0
 
Jared Cross
(694)

They paid $9,272,000 in bonus money. It's just that they could have spent up to $9,272,341 without losing a pick.

Jul 21, 2012 17:31 PM
rating: 10
 
gdragon1977

Yeah that makes sense but I'm also guessing it was a veteran who had that clause. Doubtful that a draft pick would get that, especially since most of the Jays' minor league affiliates are outside of Canada anyway so it wouldn't affect him much for a while. But I'm definitely curious as well if there was some specific reason for the amount of the cushion. I suppose that it may have just worked out with what that they had signed up to that point that they had a weird crooked number left over towards the end, but put out round number offers to the remaining unsigned guys.

Jul 21, 2012 08:55 AM
rating: 0
 
SeanDoyle

I can say, without fear of hyperbole, that Alex Anthopoulos is the greatest GM ever to walk the Earth

Jul 24, 2012 09:00 AM
rating: 0
 
jimcal

"ON Zip Code: M5V 1J1: Website: bluejays.com: Phone: 416-341-1000 ... Baseball Operations and General Manager: Alex Anthopoulos ."

There you go.

Jul 24, 2012 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
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The BP Wayback Machine... (07/20)
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