The White Sox made a strong showing on July 2, the opening of the international signing period. They announced four signings off the bat, including two prospects in the MLB Top 30. Considering some of their past and still pretty recent performances, this deserves an approving pat on the head.
But it pales in comparison to the Yankees, who by gathered reports (h/t River Ave. Blues) have already signed 12 high-profile prospects for a combined $14.5 million. Their haul includes Dermis Garcia--the No. 1 ranked international prospect according to MLB.com--and Nelson Gomez and Juan De Leon, the No. 2 prospects on MLB.com and Baseball America's lists, respectively. Both Garcia and Gomez have signed deals that are themselves in excess of the Yankes $2,193,100 bonus pool limit. They are in a position to receive the maximum penalty.
The maximum penalty, is 100% tax on the amount spent over the bonus pool, and the offending team is not allowed to sign a prospect for more than $300K for the next two years. In all, the Yankees could wind up paying near $27 million just for the work they have already done.
Needless to say this is not something we should expect the White Sox to do anytime soon, and it's not because of the tremendous strength of the Yankees international operation it suggests, or the large sum of money thrown at--what every 16-year-old is at this point--lottery ticket prospects.
The Sox would chiefly never so brazenly flout the rules put in place by MLB, especially not ones put in place with the intention of reducing money given to amateur players, and especially not ones they're widely suspected of advocating for due to their owner's distaste for the accelerating price of international free agents. If anything, as the last few drafts before hard-slotting indicated, the Sox would rather stubbornly adhere to rules out of a sense of nobility while the rest of the league giddily flouted these limitations and crushed them with it, then turn their back on the policies they wish were enforced.
While hard slotting in the draft is generally being adhered to--or the attempts to circumnavigate it are merely more sly (like sending your American draft prospect to the Dominican)--the swift-arriving pointlessness of the international signing rules could be pushing the Yankees.
Bud Selig has been trying to organize an international draft for years now. While it was shot down until at least after 2016 in the most recent CBA, likely making the Yankees have to pay the penalties put in place, overall faith in the stability of the current system has to be low, since the league's long-term wishes are known. And even if they weren't, a perennially decent-to-great team like the Yankees, especially when they can arrange a frenzy like the one they assaulted the market with on July 2, gets more value and more prospects by flouting the rules with reckless abandon when they have a chance to, then drawing inside the lines with the ~$2 million pittance the MLB allows them to pursue future stars with.
Why save up for one small bite of the apple per year, when you can run off with the whole bushel, reap the rewards and do it again after two years?
Follow The Catbird Seat on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat