June 9, 2012; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators catcher Mike Zunino leads off second base during game one of the Gainesville super regional at McKethan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-US PRESSWIRE

Seattle Running Low On Draft Funds

As Bud Selig reached into his 1970′s style desert brown jacket, reaching for the high grade fountain pen that would eventually mark upon baseball’s new CBA, he was unknowingly altering the methods of numerous organizations and how they go about acquiring talent.

Not only does this new CBA handcuff its organizations when it comes to signing international talent, it also handicaps a teams ability to sign home grown, american-bred talent. This has multiple side effects that in the end will end up diluting the overall dignity of the sport. It’s hard to “convince” a two sport athlete to come play baseball, when the fame and spotlight has belonged to football for decades. Baseball isn’t a star driven sport, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need our stars. Unfortunately these ramifications won’t be felt for quite some time, and perhaps at that time the sport will have been hurt insurmountably. Without stars and idols for young children to imitate and strive to become, the sport will lose the interest of america’s young, and that is something baseball has already been struggling to fight.

Now that I have veered off on a complete tangent, that brings us to the Mariners. Seattle has had a notoriously hard time of late attracting offensive talent. So the Mariners have leaned heavily on the draft and the international market in order to shore up their free agency deficiencies. The Mariners have invested large quantities of money in the draft, drafting highly regarded prospects with commitments in the later rounds and then throwing money at these lower end picks in order to convince them to forego other opportunities. The Mariners have signed 8 of their top 10 picks. Notably absent is number one pick Mike Zunino. Not necessarily a reason for concern, first round picks tend to drag this process out as long as possible in an attempt to get as much money as possible. Here begins a rather large issue.

The Mariners have already begun to run low on draft funds.

The Mariners have an MLB mandated $8,223,400 to spend on their top 10 picks. Thus far the Mariners have signed Joseph DeCarlo ($1.3M — Slot: $806,000), Edwin Diaz (???), Tyler Pike ( $850K — Slot: $370,800), Patrick Kivlehan ($300K — Slot: $353,300), Christopher Taylor (???), Timothy Lopes ( $550k — Slot: $198,100), Taylor Ard ($149K – Slot: $149,700), Jamodrick McGruder ( $130K — Slot: $130,500), and Grady Wood ( $40K — Slot: $125,000). According to Baseball America the Mariners are $355,700 over their budget of $8,223,400 for their top 10 picks.

Selig has taken a personal vendetta against anyone who plans to spend over his reconfigured slot bonus. Serious penalties are to be dealt to those who would disobey the new laws of the current CBA. This excerpt is taken from the CBA:

Penalties for exceeding the Signing Bonus Pool are: Excess of Pool Penalty – (Tax on Overage/Draft Picks)

* 0-5% – 75% tax on overage
* 5-10% – 75% tax on overage and loss of 1st round pick
* 10-15% – 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st and 2nd round picks
15%+ – 100% tax on overage and loss of 1st round picks in next two drafts

The Mariners have been allotted $5,200,000 for the signing of Zunino. That leaves $3,023,400 for the rest of their picks. That is only if they can sign Zunino at or below slot. Without knowing how much the Mariners spent on Diaz and Taylor, they have already spiked up to the $3,320,000 zone. If you you assume that the Mariners continue the trend of going above slot, you can figure to add another possible $400,000 – $500,000 to that figure with the unknown bonus amounts. That would push the $3,320,000 zone up to $3,720,000 range. That would leave a bonus of $4,500,400-ish for number one selection Mike Zunino, about $700,000 short of his suggested bonus.

Cause for concern? Certainly, but the it’s not a reason to panic. Both selections above Zunino, signed for below the recommended slot bonus, with an unprecedented higher bonus to the second round pick, Byron Buxton. The Mariners are going to sign Zunino, the only issue now becomes, can they do it below slot?

With these decapitating penalties, I certainly hope so.

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Tags: 2012 MLB Draft Mike Zunino

  • maqman

    I’m guessing they have already settled on a number with Zunino and are only waiting until he’s finished playing in the CWS to give him a physical and sign him.  Otherwise Z has figured out a way to game the system, if so I hope it’s allowable under the new CBA.  If not then there will be problems drafting next year.

  • KenLeder

    I don’t see lots of fans really been worried about. They have enough to sign Zunino without getting penalized. This is really a non-issue as they can afford to go over by about 400k in the draft without heavy penalty. And they already signed there first 32 rounds except 8th, 16th, and 30th? round player and of course Zunino. We aren’t sure how much Diaz got payed, but even if he signed for 500k that would leave more than enough for Zunino. Your worries are a bit overblown. You have to understand that there really isn’t much leverage for Zunino since he would fall much further in the draft in other years plus his father is smart enough to realize that. There is a good chance he doesn’t get $4 million next season. I don’t think anyone projects him to get paid slot, that would be pretty rediculous for a guy that is in his situation. He would likely risk losing couple 100k or more if he reenters what is going to be a much stronger draft then this year.

  • Mariner_Melee

     @KenLeder I don’t see how my worries are overblown when I quite plainly stated… “Cause for concern? Certainly, but the it’s not a reason to panic. Both selections above Zunino, signed for below the recommended slot bonus…”
    There is always going to be leverage for a first rounder, because no team is going to walk away without that pick. 
    You seem to be under some impression that I am writing this with the doom and gloom label, or perhaps that is how you interpreted it, but clearly it is not written that way. The Mariners have overspent and that does leave less money for Zunino…fact….not opinion. 

  • Mariner_Melee

     @maqman I have wondered this as well. The low level of talent this year certainly does allow him to overspend on some picks and still possibly stay under cap.

  • KenLeder

     @Mariner_Melee It doesn’t matter how how serious your post was. In my opinion, from the moment you decided to make such a long post about it it was a bit much.

  • Mariner_Melee

     @KenLeder I’m afraid you might be losing a bit of credibility. Judging a article on length instead of content is absolutely terrible analysis and just plain ridiculous. 
    You wouldn’t judge the flavor of a delicious hamburger because it took too long to eat it. 
    If you find 600+ words hard to read you are probably following the wrong blog community. You won’t find anything preschool short in the entire Mariners blog-o-sphere. We have a lot to say.

  • Coug1990

    In the article you stated that 1st round picks tend to drag things out and therefore, we should not worry that Zunino has not signed.  The biggest reason that Zunino has not signed is that he is still playing in the College World Series with Florida.  If he signs, he becomes a professional and loses his eligibility.  He will sign for around 4  million when Florida is either eliminated or they win it all.

  • Coug1990

     @Mariner_Melee Keith Law tweeted that Edwin Diaz signed for $300000.  https://twitter.com/keithlaw/status/215563478885339136
    So, the Mariners have about 4 million to sign Zunino.  It is likely they have already settled on a number.  If for some reason Zunino goes back for his senior year, he loses all leverage and he would also have to compete with a better class of players next year.

  • KenLeder

    LOL, I did say long, but it doesn’t mean I would have liked it if it was short. I would have felt the same way. You are just knit-picking comments like what I did. You and I aren’t any  different. There has been too many Mariners fan that have worried so much about it and that it what’s getting quite annoying to me. You probably know where I’m coming from now, if you don’t, I can’t help you.

  • KenLeder

     @Mariner_Melee oh wierd, must have deleted the reply name part.

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