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 reallyâ€‹ 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.