uspw_3645906According to Ben Badler of, the Tampa Bay Rays will be fined by Major League Baseball at least $800,000 for exceeding the limit on bonuses teams are allowed to spend on international free agents. More importantly, the Rays will be limited in the types of players they can sign next year.

According to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were limited to $2.9 million in bonuses for international free agents. The Rays have already spent at least $3.7 million and will be taxed 100% for every dollar they spent over the $2.9 million limit. In addition, the Rays will not be allowed to sign any players for more than $250,000 during the 2013-14 signing period which begins July 2.

Exceeding the bonus pool limit is an interesting move because the cap is designed to limit big market teams from hoarding the top international free agents. Those players are not subject to the amateur draft and in the past, teams like the Yankees did very well signing international players because they were able to throw large bonuses at them.

However, clearly the Rays knew about the penalties and must have considered this year’s talent pool to be deeper than next year’s. And Badler does note that the Rays landed “a considerable amount of talent, including arguably the two best 16-year-old pitchers on the market.”

You can read more about the players the Rays signed at



  1. Bill says:

    As Rays fans we should rejoice and wear this as a badge of honor. Did any of us ever envision a day when the Rays would get fined for spending too much.

  2. Mark says:

    Pretty smart of them to go after the players they really like this year at the expense of next if the talent pool isnt that great (or there are players they dont like).

  3. Ricky C says:

    Based on the write-ups this was a smart move by the Rays. Also it is important to note that within the Rays budget over the past few years they may have had a little extra $ available given the new rules for draft bonuses. Either way, the fact the Rays continue to spend $ in scouting and development is the best news to come out of this

  4. Don says:

    Really IRONIC, Rays "over paying" anyone, Hell they under pay their world acclaimed Manager, Has there been One International player that has helped this team in 6 years?
    a 16 yo pitcher with $1mil from S. america, cuba, wherever will be on more drugs than stuie can afford by the time is 21yo..
    $800,000 fine..Stuie is having a stroke as we speak...

  5. Dave L says:

    If initial your response to this news wasn't getting a giant grin as you read it then burst out laughing you aren't a Rays fan.

    I think this proves the Rays investments in Venezuela and the Dominican are really starting to make headway. This is an long term plan that is unheard of current corporate climate.

    They knew going in that it wouldn't yield fruit for 6 to 10 years.

    This is another example of why we have some of the best baseball executives in the game.

    Has anyone analyzed what is the net yearly cost to the organization to maintain these organizations?

    Baseball is a global game and its always good to grow your brand outside your market.

  6. Gus says:

    I really don't see how we are so convinced that the Rays are so smart that they intentionally broke a rule because they could see next year's prospects so clearly that they would intentionally give over $800K as a fine (and the opportunity cost of not signing anybody this year). Think about that for a second. Does that really sound rational?

  7. Andy says:

    Anyone know if there's an appeal process for this fine/penalty? Really hate to see that much $$ wasted on a fine.


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