The international signing period began on Wednesday, the annual feeding frenzy where we shift our focus from domestic players we know nothing about to foreign players who are even younger and we know even less about. While the MLB Draft lasts three days, plus five weeks to sign as many players as possible, the international signing period lasts nearly 12 months, though a flurry of notable players will sign in the next few weeks.
The Dodgers are also reportedly interested in Venezuelan corner outfielder Romer Cuadrado, a 6'4, 195-pound outfielder who Ben Badler at Baseball America described as someone with "projectable power who's game skills will need time to develop."
The international signing period runs from July 2 to June 15, and all international amateurs aged 16 or older are eligible to be signed by major league clubs. The exceptions are that players 23 and older, with a minimum of five years professional experience, are not subject to the bonus pool restrictions of the international signing period.
Much like the MLB Draft, the international signing period is governed by spending limits based on last season's record. The Astros, with 111 losses in 2013, have more money to spend than the Dodgers. All signing bonuses of $10,000 or less don't count toward the bonus pool.
The total amount for each team is determined by four rounds worth of slots, with bonus amounts assigned to each one, plus a base of $700,000 available to each team. The Dodgers have $1,963,800 to spend, as broken down by Sanchez at MLB.com.
One difference between the draft and the international signing period is that teams can trade international slots. The Dodgers did so twice in 2013, adding a $209,700 bonus slot in the Carlos Marmol-Matt Guerrier swap, and a $197,000 slot in the Ricky Nolasco deal too.
The one caveat in trading for extra bonus slots is that a team can't add more than 50 percent of its bonus pool via trade. That means the Dodgers can't add more than $981,900 in bonus slot values by trade.
There are also penalties for spending over the allotted limits, per the collective bargaining agreement.
|Excess amount||Dodgers 2014 range||Penalties|
|0-4.99%||$1,963,800 - $2,061,989||100% tax on overage|
|5-9.99%||$2,061,990 - $2,160,179||100% tax on overage
can give no bonuses next period over $500,000
|10-14.99%||$2,160,180 - $2,258,369||100% tax on overage
can give no bonuses next period over $300,000
|15%+||$2,258,370+||100% tax on overage
can give no bonuses next two periods over $300,000
|Per collective bargaining agreement|