I thought I would look into the possible financial implications of the Blue Jays' draft strategy.
The Blue Jays, as most of us know, used a number of their draft picks on difficult to sign players, who will require a financial commitment above what their slot values allow. They balanced this however by taking a number of players (particularly from rounds 4-10) who many expect to sign for well below slot value.
How much below? That's a good question, and one we will look into shortly.
Here below are all the picks from the 2011 MLB Draft (4th round to 10th round).
I made note of the players that signed for the lowest bonus totals in each round to perhaps see how low we can go with our signing bonuses to our "over-drafted" picks.
13 134 Los Angeles Dodgers Ryan O’Sullivan RHP Oklahoma City Okla. (100,000)
14 165 Los Angeles Angels Andrew Ray OF Northeast Texas CC Texas (80,000)
5 216 Kansas City Royals Kellen Moen RHP Oregon Ore. (45,000)
6 217 Washington Nationals Brian Dupra RHP Notre Dame Ind. (35,000)
13 224 Los Angeles Dodgers Scott Woodward OF Coastal Carolina S.C. (50,000)
15 226 Oakland Athletics Blake Treinen RHP South Dakota State S.D. (52,500)
20 231 Chicago White Sox Kevan Smith C Pittsburgh Pa. (60,000)
25 236 Atlanta Braves Cody Martin RHP Gonzaga Wash. (45,000)
6 247 Washington Nationals Greg Holt RHP North Carolina N.C. (34,000)
11 252 New York Mets Danny Muno SS Fresno State Calif. (10,000)
13 254 Los Angeles Dodgers Rick Anton LHP Utah (25,000)
16 257 Detroit Tigers Jason Krizan OF Dallas Baptist Texas (50,000)
22 263 San Diego Padres Kevin Quackenbush RHP South Florida Fla. (5,000)
3 274 Arizona Diamondbacks John Leonard SS Connellsville (Pa.) Area HS Pa. (80,000 )
4 275 Baltimore Orioles Devin Jones RHP Mississippi State Miss. (97,500)
5 276 Kansas City Royals Aaron Brooks RHP Cal State Bernardino Calif. (90,000)
6 277 Washington Nationals Dixon Anderson INF/RHP California Calif. (95,000)
9 280 Houston Astros Jonas Dufek RHP Creighton Neb. (40,000)
12 283 Florida Marlins Austin Barnes C Arizona State Ariz. (95,000)
16 287 Detroit Tigers Chad Wright OF Kentucky Ky. (95,000)
24 295 Cincinnati Reds Cole Green RHP Texas Texas (90,000)
27 298 Minnesota Twins Nicholas Bryant SS Troy Ala. (25,000)
28 299 New York Yankees Zach Arneson RHP Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) Idaho (20,000)
29 300 Tampa Bay Rays Matt Rice C Western Kentucky Ky. (25,000)
4 305 Baltimore Orioles Tyler Wilson RHP Virginia Va. (20,000)
5 306 Kansas City Royals Matt Murray RHP Georgia Southern Ga. (75,000)
9 310 Houston Astros Kyle Hallock LHP Kent State Ohio (40,000)
10 311 Milwaukee Brewers Mike Strong LHP Oklahoma State Okla. (25,000)
12 313 Florida Marlins Scott Lyman RHP UC Davis Calif. (85,000)
15 316 Oakland Athletics Dusty Robinson OF Fresno State Calif. (95,000)
16 317 Detroit Tigers Curt Casali C Vanderbilt Tenn. (40,000)
19 320 St. Louis Cardinals Lance Jeffries OF McCluer HS, St. Louis Mo. (95,000)
21 322 Boston Red Sox Cody Koback OF Wisconsin-Stevens Point Wis. (85,000)
22 323 San Diego Padres Rob Kral C College of Charleston S.C. (40,000)
23 324 Texas Rangers Joe Maloney C Limestone (S.C.) S.C. (90,000)
I know it probably won't happen but if we picked 6 Kevin Quacken Bushes ($5,000) or 6 Danny Munos ($10,000) or their equivalents, it would greatly aid us in paying our difficult to sign picks. Now these are pie in the sky scenarios, so take them with a grain fo salt.
For reference, here are the stats Quackenbush and Munos posted in their draft years. Both were 22-year-old Seniors.
Kevin Quackenbush, RHP, 6'3 195, South Florida, NCAA
(2011) 1-2(w-l) 28(gp) 0.81(era) 12(sv) 33.1(ip) 14(h) 7(bb) 45(so)
Danny Munos, SS, 5'11 170, S/R, Fresno State, NCAA
(2011) 56gp 204ab .348/.471/.471 3hr 52rbi 14(2b) 1(3b) 46bb 27so 14sb 6cs
Slot Values for picks from 4th Round to 10th Round
4th) 145: $308,700
5th) 175: $231,100
6th) 205: $173,200
7th) 235: $145,000
8th) 265: $135,400
9th) 295: $126,400
10th) 325: $125,000
Total Value= $1,244,800
Option 1: $1,244,800 - $30,0000 (6 picks) = $1,214,800 ($607,400 for each of Smoral and Alford)
Option 2: $1,244,800 - $60,0000 (6 picks) = $1,184,800 ($592,400 for each of Smoral and Alford)
If you add in the 5% bonus cushion to those totals it woulde be
$1,214,800 + $441,540 = 1,656,340 ($828,170 for each of Smoral and Alford)
$1,184,800 + $441,540 = 1,626,340 ($813,170 for each of Smoral and Alford)
(NOTE) If Smoral and Alford don't sign, the bonus cushion shrinks from $441,540 to $370,320. If we get only Smoral signed, the bonus cushion would then be $391,540.
Split evenly and added to their slot values you would be able to give them at least:
2nd Round #50 Matt Smoral: $1,000,000 + $828,170 = $1,828,170
$1,000,000 + $813,170 = $1,813,170
3rd Round #112 Anthony Alford: $424,400 + 828,170 = $1,252,570
$424,400 + 813,170 = $1,237,570
So you could concievably give Smoral about 1.83m and Alford 1.2m depending on how you decide to split the savings between them.
If neither one of them takes the money. You lose Smoral's 1,000,000 and Alford's 424,400 slot values. But you get those picks back next year, in arguably a deeper draft, increasing you bonus pool for 2013.
We would also be able to funnel the possible $1,656,340 or $1,626,340 savings from rounds 4-10 (plus the bonus cushion) into the tough signs we took after the 10th round such as:
15th Round #475
Ryan Borucki, LHP, 6’4 165, IL, HS
Very projectable lefty with loose arm and present upper 80's-low 90s fastball, that touches 92 on occasion, with late run. More velocity in there. Boruki really executes his pitches well. He effectively mixes his slippery curveball and good straight change to keep both right and lefthanded hitters off balance. Borucki's feel and release of the change-up is what makes the difference for him and it makes him a prospect, as a lefthander. Borucki’s shows the ability to throw all three of his pitches for strikes.
14th Round #445
Zak Wasilewski, LHP, 6’2 200, VA, HS
Wasilewski has a strong athletic build. Fast arm, ball come comes out of hand well. Low 90s fastball has plus life. Flashes a nice curveball with sharp break and a lot of potential.
As most draft followers know every pick after the 10th round can be given 100,000 without the total counting against a team's aggregate bonus pool. That would be the base point you will start with.
You could give all the savings + the bonus cushion to one guy and give him about 1.8m, which should be more than enough to get either of these guys signed.
Or, you could try to split the savings between them ($825,170 each) and get both for 928,170 each, which might be enough to get it done.
Would that replace losing out on Smoral or Alford? Of course not. But at least you don't come out of the draft relatively empty handed. You add two very talented, high upside prospects into your system.
In addition, if you sign Smoral and not Alford, for lets say $2,000,000 (Daniel Norris money), you might still have enough left to offer one of these guys (Wasilewski or Borucki) $756,340.
(NOTE) I did not calculate any possible savings from drafting DJ Davis, since we don't know how much that would be, or if there even would be any.
I will make a very rough attempt here to predict his possible bonus figure, taking into account both past precedent and the realities of the current financial landscape.
Now last years' 17th overall pick CJ Cron signed for MLB's slot reccomendation of $1,467,000. This year the slot total has been raised to 2,000,000 meaning that there's at least a 73.35% rate of inflation.
I don't think Davis is comparable to a player like Cron however, particularly from a stronger draft class like 2012.
Looking at the players available from the 2012 draft who I think are comparable to Davis (i.e. an athletic HS outfielder).
One really springs to mind.
Roman Quinn, OF, 5'9 165, R/R, FL, HS
(6.35 runner - 95mph outfield arm)
College Commitment (Florida State)
"Smaller compact build. Very good runner, 6.57 60, right handed hitter, 4.20 home to first, fast twitch hands, busy load, nice quick swing, line drive contact, ball jumps off hard, all fields, has some lift and power, good bat speed. Very good outfield toolds, very quick to the ball, quick release, very good arm strength."
"The first thing you will hear about Roman Quinn is that he is fast. He has recorded 60 yard dash times as fast as 6.35 and uses that speed in the field and on the bases. Offensively, Quinn is a line drive hitter with a quick bat. He does have a bit of pop in his bat and should end up getting his share of extra base hits. Quinn has played second, shortstop, and centerfield for Port St Joe. He has more than enough range for center and his arm is plus, as well. Beyond his obvious skillset, Quinn is also commended for his strong work ethic."
Roman Quinn was taken in the early 2nd Round in 2011 (66th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies. That is probably where a player like Davis would have been taken in that much deeper and more talented draft. In comparison, most scouts grade the 2012 draft a 45 on a 20-80 scale.
Quinn signed for an above slot deal of $775,000.
Of course, we can't just expect Davis to sign for $775,000 because a comparable player signed for that much the year before. Nor can we expect him to sign for the $1,467,000 that CJ Cron signed for as the 17th pick in 2011. 2011 is not 2012, and the slot values have increased at a rate of 73.35% as I've stated.
Now I think a middle ground between Quinn's bonus and Cron's bonus would make sense. In a negotiation I would bring them Quinn's bonus of $775,000 as a comparable, and agree to account for the 73.35% inflation. That would likely bring his bonus into the range of $1,343,462 (or 775,000 + 568,463).
Now, bonuses are often out of whack with reality though, so it's very likely he'll get more than that sum. I can see him getting a bonus in the range of 1.3m and 1.7m, which would give you an extra $400,000 in savings from the $2,000,000 slot value of the 17 pick. $400,000 that you can possibly add to the numbers above to give you even more financial flexibility.
NUMBER CRUNCHING: CHAPTER 3
Ok, so we have more information now, which gives us a basis for more speculation. lol
What we know; or think we know:
1) Our 4th round pick Tucker Donahue signed for a "4 digit" bonus; so something between 1,000 and 9,999, which would likely be 300,000 below his slot value.
*It is likely that our other picks from the 5th through 10th round have signed for similar 4 digit bonuses (as it seems unlikely that they would command more than Donahue), giving the team much needed financial flexibility.
2) Matt Smoral is close to reaching an agreement with the Blue Jays, likely for a sum close to 2 million, well above the slot value of the 50th overall pick (1,000,000) in the 2012 draft, but right in line with his actual talent and potential.
3) Chase Dejong our 2nd round pick will likely sign for slightly above his slot value (620,300); and be paid like "a first round pick" to paraphrase him. By first round pick, I have to believe he means first round compensation, simply because as good as I think he is going to be, his current talent level is not worth even the $1,575,000 that the very last pick in the first-first round is due to recieve. For argument's sake lets give him a proxy total of $857,200 (the slot value of the 60th pick, Tyler Gonzales, who the Blue Jays chose with the last pick of the first round). I can also see him actually recieving slightly less, and still having an above slot deal.
4) Tyler Gonzales is signing with the Blue Jays for a bonus "close" to his slot value as the teams 60th pick in the supplemental round (857,200). Whether that means the actual total is slightly less or slightly more is ambiguous. Judging from his comments about money not being important, one could infer that the value is slightly less, which would be a great coup for the Blue Jays.
5) Left-handed pitcher Zak Wasilewski, the team's 14th round pick, will most likely sign (or at least his mom has indicated as much). Given his talent level however, I can't see him signing for the 100,000 the Jays are allowed to pay every pick outside of the first 10 rounds. He would require a slightly above slot deal to forego his D1 scholarship to two time NCAA champion South Carolina. I can see him getting something in the neighbourhood of the now retired Mitchell Taylor's above slot deal of $367,500 which he received as the 7th round pick (216th overall) in the 2010 draft. That is the value I would put on him, and you know how the Jays front office loves to put an internal value on a player's worth. I'll predict $350,000 even.
Now that these loose "facts" are "established", we can move forward with our rampant speculation.
I will split up the number crunching segment into two. The first exploring the "best case scenario" and the second a "slightly worse, but still good overall scenario."
BEST CASE SCENARIO
The Blue Jays pay their 6 picks from the 4th to 10th round a total of 30,000 or 5,000 (4 digits) per player. Their slot values in aggregate would total $1,244,800, giving the Blue Jays roughly $1,214,800 in savings.
Now we have speculated in this thread that DJ Davis would sign for below his slot value of 2,000,000 (roughly between 1.5 and 1.7 million). Let's go with the lower number in this best case scenario, saving the Blue Jays another 500,000.
Now let's say the Blue Jays approach Marcus Stroman with an offer similar to what many believe the White Sox did with Chris Sale. (i.e "Sign for a certain amount and receive a quick big league call up by the end of the year, or earlier). This could work for both the Blue Jays as well as Stroman. The Blue Jays could use some relief help in the majors, with the injury to Sergio Santos, and the ineffectiveness of Francisco Cordero. Stroman would give them immediate value for their pick and for their money. He could be a dominant late inning reliever like Tom "Flash" Gordon was for many years, and an instant fan favourite.
Stroman would sign for below his slot value of $1,800,000 (let's say for 1,500,000). The Jays would save another 300,000.
Now why would Stroman do this? Well, he would still be handsomely paid for one at 1.5 million, much more than last years 22nd overall pick Colton Wong, who signed for 1.3 with the Cardinals. By doing the hand shake agreement with the Jays and getting a quick tocket to the majors,which the following quote suggests is his number 1 goal:
"I want nothing more than to have that [getting called up to the big leagues]," he said. "That’s the ultimate goal, and the sooner I get there, the better."
Should Stroman make it to the majors this year he would also begin to receive a major league salary immediately. The rookie scale salary for an MLB player is approximately $390,000 per year, or 65,000 a month. Were he to sign quickly and join the big league team in say July, he could recoup roughly 195,000. Realistically though there are Verducci factors to consider, as he's already pitched 30ip more than his previous years total (though I don't know how this applies to relievers). A September debut seems more likely in which case he could recoup 65,000, while also beginning his major league service time clock at 21 years of age, meaning he's that much closer to an even bigger pay day. Heck, the Jays could lock him up at the end of the season or in his second year to a team friendly longterm deal, meaning even more guaranteed money for Stroman. (So he's trading short term pain for longterm gain).
More importantly perhaps, he would also get to experience the fringe benefits of being a major leaguer: travelling first class, playing in front of thousands of people, staying at the best hotels, getting a major league per diem on road trips for expenses. That has to be a hell of a lot more enticing than holding out for an extra 300,000 while toiling away in the minors for another year or two; riding busses, staying at roach motels, making 3,500 a season, while playing in front of sparse crowds, as the big league club delays your call-up in order to keep your service clock from starting. Given that, I think there's a decent chance he signs for slightly below. Probably not 300,000 below, but this is a best case scenario.
The last place I can see possibly savings are Mitch Nay and Tyler Gonzales our 58th and 60th picks respectively. Their slot values are $884,100 for Nay, and $857,200 for Gonzales. I already stated that I think Gonzales will sign for slightly below slot, but not much. Nothing big, but maybe 850,000, which would save us $7,200.
With Nay I can't really go on anything other than guess work. Nay is a talented player, but he was slightly overdrafted at 58, as BA had him ranked the 101st best talent, which would put him in line to be a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.
Here are the points to consider:
The 101st pick in the 2012 draft would be due a slot value of $471,900.
The 58th pick last season, shortstop Jace Peterson received a bonus of $624,600 from the Padres in a better draft.
Two somewhat similar players (i.e. power hitting outfielders) in Granden Goetzman and Carl Thomore went in the 2nd round last year 75th and 77th for bonuses of $490,000 and 480,000 respectively.
Here is a scouting report on Goeztman and Thomore via Perfect Game and River Avenue Blues:
GRANDEN GOETZMAN, ss-of, Palmetto HS, Palmetto
College Commitment: Florida Gulf Coast
Stock way up as SR for 6-4/195 athlete; ++ power/speed package with loose, fast swing, has future CF tools.
CARL THOMORE, of, East Brunswick HS
College Commitment: Rutgers
5-tool potential, 6-2/210, + speed, strong OF tools, + bat speed (.493-2-22, 25 SB, only 2 K’s), ++ makeup.
Thomore’s best tool is something that is in short supply these days: power. He keeps the weight on his 6-foot-1, 195 lb. frame back and generates big time bat speed from the right side, hitting the ball to all fields but doing the most damage when he pulls it to left. An advanced approach helps his cause. Thomore is a good athlete with a strong arm, though he’s not good enough for center and profiles best in right. His bat projects to be plenty good for the position though.
There are a couple other examples, but it seems that similar types of players last year received almost identical bonuses of 480,000-490,000. While I can't expect Nay to accept quite that small a bonus (though I hope he would), I definatley don't see him signing for his full slot value of $884,100 either. Maybe I could go with the 73.35% rate of inflation on top of the 490,000, which would be $359,415. That would seem to lead to a signing bonus of around $849,415 (more than fair for the type of player he is). That seems to rich for Nay though. I will predict a signing bonus of 750,000-800,000 flat, and since this is a best case scenario let's go with the lower total leaving a possible savings of $99,415.
Taking everything in aggregate that potentially gives us a savings pool of $2,121,415.
(1,214,800 + 500,000 + 300,000 + 7,200 + 99,415)
Now Smoral is expected to recieve a singing bonus of about 2,000,000 (1 million above slot). I also anticipated Dejong to receive an above slot bonus right around Tyler Gonzales' $857,200 (though probably a little lower). That would be 236,900 above slot. Add in my speculated $350,000 deal (250,000 above slot) for Wasilewski and you are left with a savings total of 569,785 to spread around. Unfortunately that would only total $634,515.
You could put those savings on top of Anthony Alford's slot value of 424,400 and offer him 1,058,915.
Somehow that doesn't sound like enough to buy him out of his football scholarship though. I can't envision a scenario in which they can offer him enough money to give up football.
It has been speculated however that the Jays could offer him a two sport deal. Signing him at a relative discount to play baseball in the spring and summer profesionally, while allowing him to go to college and play football in the fall.
Why would Alford consider this? Well he would get an instant pay day, that would allow him to live the life in college, rather than living hand to mouth like alot of college athletes (who aren't taking booster money). He would have insurance in case he gets injured significantly, or plays terribly and doesn't become worthy of an NFL pick.
In exchange, the Jays get his longterm rights, should he give up football and decide to play baseball instead.This is a strategy that Jim Callis discussed today with regards to another two-sport athlete Jameis Winston:
Sean (Battle Creek): Im confused over the Jameis WInston situation. Obviously he is going to go and play football for FSU in the fall but the Rangers are hoping he will play pro ball in offseason. How does that work? Do the rangers still need to go way over the 100k slot for him to play part time? Would he be Rangers property if that did happened or would he reenter draft later for baseball? Unfamiliar with the situation. Thanks Jim, love the chats!
Jim Callis: He can play professionally in baseball and be eligible for NCAA football. Essentially, he can get $100,000 (or whatever the bonus is--it won't be huge) for a summer job with no long-term commitment to baseball. The Rangers get to control his rights if he decides to play baseball, and can try to entice him with more money down the road.
If this is our strategy with Alford, we can probably pay him slot value as Callis has suggested, or slightly more, on a non-exclusive two-sport deal.
We would then be left with roughly $634,515 to spread amongst our later round picks, or to give 734,515 to one of Cole Irvin, Ryan Borucki, Willy Dupont, Brandon Lopez, Ryan Kellogg, or whoever will take it.
Oh yeah, I know I promised to explore a "slightly worse, but still good overall scenario" but that sounds boring now that I think about it. And if you've read this far, you probably have no interest in rehashing the same numbers anyway. If you do, then well, made you look, ha ha! :D