According to Ben Badler of BaseballAmerica.com, 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.”