I was reading a Baseball America/ESPN chat this afternoon, and came across this point made by BA writer John Manuel (bolded)
I wonder how true this quote is? I also wonder if any team has taken the time to break this down. Given the huge disparity involved in those shear numbers it is a simple no brainer that low budget teams like the Reds should be pouring money into signing International players. Although I know that the Draft numbers are largely skewed by the top heavy first several rounds of the MLB Draft.Tom (Boston): Are the signing bonuses on the international market equivalent to the signing bonuses in the draft? i.e. if players like Beltre, Tejada, or villalona were draft elligable, would they have gotten drafted in places where slot money is what they signed for?
John Manuel: Great question, and not really equivalent at all. The money involved in signing amateur players, internationally and in the draft, is so f.u.b.a.r. right now I don't even know where to start. Top international players can create bidding wars, with more than one team offering them contracts, which top guys can't do. But you're talking about a 16-year-old in most cases, and it's harder to know which ones will turn into Jackson Melian (remember him? Venezuelan OF who got $1.6 million in '96 from the Yankees?) and who will be Francisco Liriano. But here's a stat an international scout sent me that I am trying to write a story around (if I ever find the time . . . ): about 870 players signed in this year's draft for roughly $150 million. About 880 players signed internationally this year, for roughly $35 million. Advantage, international. You aren't bidding against Stanford, Ga. Tech, etc., for those players' services, or against real jobs. It's just apples and oranges to compare the players, but for the clubs, it's clearly a more efficent place to find players, on the international market.
If the Reds spent - say - 1/30th on each pool this year - that works out to be $5mil in the draft and $1.1 mil on International signings. Would it behove the Reds to double that spending Internationally and get a higher shelf level of players? Or perhaps spend 25-30% more and sign up a higher number of players. The draft - and the development afterwards, tends to have a bit of luck and a bit of skill involved. I can't see why any team would not want to increase the odds that the luck and skill portions of getting players to the majors are increased.
An interesting topic to say the least. Any one else have some sort of outside the box thinking on this one?